The City of Newport has approved the contract for the final piece of the much-anticipated Riverfront Commons, a walkway along the Ohio River that will span from Fort Thomas to Ludlow, connecting Northern Kentucky's river cities.
The last piece of the puzzle was the Newport City Commission's approval of a pair of elevated walkways which will connect Riverfront Commons to the Taylor-Southgate Bridge. The commissioners moved forward with a $1.2 million contract with West Chester's Sunesis Construction in order to build the bridges.
Once completed, the Riverfront Commons walking/bike path will span 11.5 miles, joining Fort Thomas, Dayton, Bellevue, Newport, Covington and Ludlow. The last leg of the trail is integral in piecing together the east and west sides of the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and connecting Northern Kentucky to Cincinnati.
"Riverfront Commons is a perfect example of (what) can be achieved when cities work cooperatively," said Newport City Manager Tom Fromme in a release. "This new connection will enhance the accessibility for our residents and visitors."
The project is being led by Southbank Partners, an organization that promotes and manages Northern Kentucky river cities' economic development.
"This is truly a milestone," said Southbank Partners President Jack Moreland. "This project exemplifies the very purpose of Riverfront Commons — connectivity, walkability and bringing people to our river cities. These pedestrian walkways will make it easier to get from Riverfront Commons to Newport on the Levee, the Newport Aquarium, Festival Park, the new SkyWheel when it opens and the Purple People Bridge."
According to Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso, Riverfront Commons has been in the works for over two decades.
"It is a project that has already proven to be a great marketing tool for not just the six river cities but for the entire region as a whole. It is bringing people to communities, and that's just what we want," Peluso said.
The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments has given the project a financial boost with a grant providing over $1 million. Newport is matching 20 percent of the total cost, which comes out to about $275,000.