Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Citizens given a voice in future of Roebling Point

The public was invited to weigh in on the future look and feel of Covington's Roebling Point area last night at Covington City Hall.

Nearly 50 people gave their opinions on an upcoming plan that will help identify land use, design, public amenities, transportation and connectivity in a portion of the city bounded by Electric, Sanford and Tobacco alleys; E 3rd Street; and the Roebling "Yoke", the approach to the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge.

Last night's meeting focused specifically on architectural design and infill placement, and how it would fit into an area that includes portions of the Covington Downtown Commercial, Licking Riverside, and Ohio Riverside National Historic Districts.

"The purpose of this meeting is not only to look into the historic preservation overlay, but also the need to identify any changes we may need to make to the county's comprehensive plan," said Larisa Sims, assistant city manager for the City of Covington.

Not only were participants concerned with issues such as pedestrian scale, relationships to existing buildings, parking and green space, but had to consider surrounding development activities as well: Times Star Commons, Gateway's move to 6th and Scott streets, the Licking River Greenway and Trails, and riverfront bank stabilization.
Then there's the issue of the economy - a challenge that Sims said will require not only private investment, but public-private partnerships and city incentives.

"We've got a lot of historical structures in varying shape," she said. "We recognize that, in some circumstances, there will be a financial gap."

The Roebling Point Planning Committee will use the recommendations from last night's meeting to help draft a plan for the area, which will be subject to another public meeting later this summer.

That plan then will be presented to the Covington City Commission.

The ultimate goal is a plan that is implementable.

"Different scenarios require different levels of investment," Sims said. "While all of us here tonight might come to a consensus, the dollars and cents might not work out."