Thursday, August 23, 2007

Inside the Devou Park Master Plan

A draft Devou Park Master Plan was presented at a public meeting in July.

The draft was prepared for the City of Covington, the Devou Park Advisory Committee, and Devou Properties. Consultants on the plan included Human Nature, CDS Associates, Thelen & Associates, Fearing + Hagenauer, LSM Inc. and Davey Resource Group.

Building upon the 1998 master plan, the future of the park is envisioned as a combination of the "rustic natural qualities" of Mount Airy Forest and the "foundation of cultural assets" of Eden Park. Essentially, the park is to be considered an extension of Kessler's 1907 plan for Cincinnati's parks, which sought to site parks along the ridges surrounding the river valley and the urban basin.

One major issue is "identity". The park has multiple entrances and is detached from Covington's downtown by I-71/75. One possible (but unlikely) outcome of the master plan would be a gateway bridge spanning the interstate and connecting with Goebel Park.

The study also found that park assets such as the Behringer-Crawford Museum, the Drees Pavilion and the concert bowl are isolated from one another and could be better tied together. The first step in correcting this is a better articulated hierarchy of roads. Further studies will concentrate on how to improve wayfinding between all of the park attractions.

To build upon the success of the Drees Pavilion, an "overview district" is envisioned along the ridge. These buildings would complement the pavilion and would enjoy views of the city of Covington.

The museum needs more parking after its recent expansion, and the Art Deco bandshell is currently being studied for expansion.

Also to be studied is the financial viability of the golf course. The course, which loses money annually, suffers from severe landslides and crumbling infrastructure. The clubhouse is outdated and needs to be replaced.

The pool and recreation area might be moved to a more visible location, and the maintenance building would be rebuilt with more rustic materials or would be located to a new site. Materials for any new construction would play off of the palette provided by the WPA-built limestone and log structures in the park as well as the Drees Pavilion.

One new feature of the park is a proposed mountain bike trail for the portion of the park west of Sleepy Hollow Road. This effort is being spearheaded by the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association and seems to have the support from both the park board and the city.

Prisoner's Lake would be cleaned up, would have a dock and an overlook built, and would link with existing trails within the park.

Finally, selective cutting may be used to open up views, which could help unify the park by allowing visitors to orient themselves.

This fall's scheduled public meeting will build upon suggestions given at the July 9 meeting. The date of this meeting has not been announced.

Read the Draft Master Plan (PDF, 58 pages)