Thursday, July 10, 2003

Fort Wright getting its park

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

FORT WRIGHT - The city will finally have what it's calling a "signature park."

The city's offer of $790,000 to the Northern Kentucky University Foundation for 14 acres on Highland Pike was accepted Tuesday evening.

The offer was the appraised value.

"The executive committee did authorize me to accept an offer and negotiate a contract with Fort Wright," said Mike Baker, interim executive director of the foundation. "We think this is a real win-win situation for all parties."

The land contains a two-story home and Hooper Battery, a 6-foot-high earthen wall built by Union forces to defend against rebel attacks during the Civil War.

It was bequeathed to NKU by Fern Storer, who lived there for 61 years before her death in 2002.

The proceeds will be used for scholarships in Storer's name, as she requested in her will, according to the school.

Fort Wright City Administrator Larry Klein said the city probably will close on the deal in the next 30 to 60 days.

"I think it's a big step," Klein said. "This puts us in a higher league."

Klein said the city will have to develop a master plan, which he said he expects will take one to two years. He said he didn't know whether the house would remain, but the battery definitely would stay.

"I think there's grant money we can get because of the battery," he said. "And how many people know our relationship with the Civil War? Now they will have a concrete example of it."

The battery was built between 1861 and 1863. There are only six remaining of 28 that once stood in Northern Kentucky.

Klein said he expects the park will not be a soccer or baseball complex because of the terrain, but could have a picnic area, sand volleyball and an amphitheater.

"We just want to bring people in and let them enjoy it," he said.


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