By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - Since the Licking River flooded in March 1997, Rosedale Park in Covington's Latonia neighborhood has been largely unused.
City officials hope to change that by year's end with the help of a $75,000 grant awarded last week. The $400,000 project calls for transforming 22 acres of passive green space into a sports complex for Holy Cross High School and the community.
The project includes a new football field for freshmen and reserve games and varsity practices, a running/walking track, a varsity soccer field, a tot lot, more parking, a concession stand and restrooms.
Besides the grant, city and Holy Cross funds and donations of labor and materials from both groups will help build the sports complex.
After the flood of '97, school officials tried to purchase or lease the park, but ran into legal and funding obstacles. To resolve those, the school formed a partnership with the city.
"We're very happy with this grant because it's going to enable the project to move forward at a faster pace," said Clay Eifert, principal of Holy Cross High School in Latonia.
"Even though (Holy Cross) will have priority use of the football and soccer fields during the season, we want to make sure these facilities are accessible to the public."
The $75,000 Land and Water Conservation grant for Rosedale Parkis one of three state and federal grants totaling $98,000 recently awarded to the Covington Neighborhoods Parks and Recreation Department, said Denny Bowman, Covington recreation director.
A $3,000 grant from the Kentucky Arts Council will be used to paint a neighborhood mural on Covington's east side, and a $20,000 grant from the Kentucky Division of Forestry will enable the city to hire a part-time arborist, or tree educator, serving Covington schools and the community.
The $75,000 received for the Rosedale project will be matched by $37,500 from the city and $37,500 from Holy Cross. Plans also call for building fencing around Rosedale Park's new fields this month and adding 50 to 100 parking spaces to the parking lot this summer for a total of 300 to 350 spaces.
The city also hopes to build a new entryway to the park when it paves the parking lot, Bowman said. The new entrance would be off 45th Street across from the Twin Oaks Golf Course. The goal is to make the traffic one-way into the park off 45th Street and one-way out at the current entryway off Virginia Avenue, reducing traffic along that residential street.
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