By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - When dignitaries gather to witness the groundbreaking for a $2 million glass pavilion at Devou Park's highest point Wednesday, they'll also hear a pitch for donations for park improvements.
The Drees Co. is donating the 10,000-square-foot Drees Pavilion at Devou Memorial Overlook. Covington officials and representatives of the Northern Kentucky home builder will join U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, and U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat, at the 10:30 a.m. groundbreaking.
The project will highlight the Drees Co.'s yearlong 75th anniversary celebration.
The pavilion, which will replace the Devou Memorial building, will accommodate large parties, such as weddings, with up to 300 guests. It also will hold up to 387 when set in a classroom style for conferences.
At Wednesday's ceremony, Greg Engelman, chairman of the Devou Park Advisory Committee, will pass out a letter highlighting recent park improvements and seeking donations for others called for in a 1998 master plan for the 700-acre park.
They include a wedding chapel; a Memorial Overlook gazebo; improvements to the old stone shelter house, the band shell and the area around Prisoners Lake; and picnic shelters with restrooms.
"Right now, we're still using portable toilets in the park, and we're trying to eliminate those,'' Engelman said.
Leadership Cincinnati has said it plans to build a picnic shelter with restrooms this year, but other picnic shelters with restrooms still are needed, Engelman said.
A new park rangers program funded by the city and the Devou Trust funds is scheduled to begin next month, City Manager Greg Jarvis said. City leaders have said the new rangers will help deter vandalism and other criminal activity.
The Drees Pavilion at Devou Memorial Overlook will be built of brick and stone, the materials favored by the Theodore Drees, the German immigrant who founded the Drees Co. and built its first home in 1928.
Construction of the pavilion is scheduled to start April 21.
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