Sunday, August 19, 2001

Campbell residents just want to have fun

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Outdoor family-oriented aquatic facilities, more open space and playgrounds, walking/hiking trails and a teen activity center top the list of the most-needed recreational outlets in a survey of Campbell County residents.

        A draft of the survey's executive summary for the recreation master plan, presented recently by Brandstetter Carroll, Inc., architects/planners, at a joint meeting of Campbell County Fiscal Court members and city officials, indicated what residents want in the way of recreation and what the future of recreation should be.

        Campbell County has about 1,000 acres of land developed for park use at five parks. A.J. Jolly Park in the southern end of the county is by far the largest with almost 900 acres — 530 developed as park, including a golf course and lake.

        Yet A.J. Jolly Park isn't used nearly as much as Tower Park in Fort Thomas, which has 86 total acres, of which 50 are developed for park use.

        One of the recommendations from Brandstetter Carroll is to develop A.J. Jolly Park into a regional attraction with an aquatic center, a large destination playground, a lodge and restaurant for meetings and banquets, and other features to attract more visitors.

        “I'm sure that if you asked the people who don't go to A.J. Jolly Park how to get to there, they wouldn't have any idea where it is,” county commissioner Bill Verst said. “We need a marketing plan to promote the parks, especially Jolly.”

        Pat Hoagland of Brandstetter Carroll, who supervised the survey for the county's recreational master plan, pointed out that a family aquatic center topped the list of most needed outdoor facilities among the 300 families surveyed, and a swimming pool was second on the list of needed indoor facilities.

        “We see this in almost every recreation survey we conduct,” he said. “Swimming is the second-most popular form of recreation in the U.S., behind walking/jogging/hiking.”

        Campbell County Judge-executive Steve Pendery said the county hopes to be able to work on the recommendations of the master plan when it is completed in the next few weeks to provide more recreational opportunities for county residents.

        The master plan recommends developing a family aquatic center in each of the counties' three regions — north, central and south — as well as multigenerational community/recreation centers in the three regions.

        The plan also recommends development of river parks in Newport and Fort Thomas that would include overlooks, boat ramps, picnic area and amphitheaters. It calls for the development of the Peace Park in downtown Newport adjacent to the World Peace Bell.

        The plan emphasizes development of trails throughout the county, particularly along the Ohio River and Ky. 8 in conjunction with Forward Quest's plans for a Riverpath through Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.


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