Covington begins old Rudy elevator demolition


COVINGTON — Demolition of the old Rudy elevator is underway in Covington, as part of a larger project that will include construction of the village’s new Schoolhouse Park later this year.

“The demolition of the old Rudy elevator property has begun,” Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman said. “The demolition is scheduled to last for multiple weeks, and then the clean-up and redevelopment of the property will continue for multiple months.”

“Once redeveloped, the old Rudy property will have a new roadway, bike path, and the framework for a future parking lot to serve Schoolhouse Park,” Hinkelman said.

Other features planned for Schoolhouse Park include the installation of a new splash pad, playground and pavilion with seating and restrooms. When completed, the project will also include the creation of the new Roy J. Weikert amphitheater for performances and events, and a food truck parking area with enough space for approximately eight trucks at one time.

Additional lighting, trail head restrooms, a climbing boulder and rentable pavilions are also planned for the park later.

“This park will serve as a gathering place for early morning walkers, hang out for kids after school, and evening entertainment venue for those in the surrounding area,” Hinkelman said. “The park has amenities for all ages, but is intended to also serve as a destination for events at the amphitheater or in the open space of the park.”

“The park is being connected to the bike trail system that is being developed in and around Covington, to make it a destination on the trail network as well,” he said.

The village first started planning the Schoolhouse Park project in 2017. The plan has been modified several times since then, to include additional input from the community.

“Public community meetings were held, and the plan was substantially modified three times to meet the needs and wants of the community over six months in 2021,” he said. “In August of 2021 the village adopted a Schoolhouse Park master plan, which is the plan that is being constructed today.”

Located at the intersection of Grant Street and Maple Street, the park was originally going to be named Maple Street Park.

“The name was changed in 2019 as the new project took shape, to honor the history of the site where the former high school (1931-1974) and middle school (1975-2016) for Covington was located,” Hinkelman said.

The project is being funded through several different sources, Hinkelman said.

“The village has raised almost $2 million for the project through grants and donations,” he said. “The village also has been extremely active in receiving grant funding for the project.”

The village has received a $500,000 grant from the state’s land and water conservation fund, $250,000 in Ohio State capital budget funding and $275,000 Brownfield Grant under Ohio HB110.

“The village has been very fortunate to have private donations in excess of $800,000, which includes a single donation of $450,000 from the UVMC Foundation Board,” Hinkelman said. “We have also received over $150,000 from the Covington Community Chest/Felger Trust to help build a playground, and $100,000 from the Roy J. Weikert Trust to help build the Roy J. Weikert Amphitheater.”

Covington’s other park, located off of US Route 36 on the west side of the village, will remain open once Schoolhouse Park is completed.

“The village has only had one park, Community Park, for over 100 years,” Hinkelman said. “That park will not only remain open, but will also continue to receive additional funding to invest in its future.”

“Last year the village invested $25,000 into Community Park to help clean up aging structures, paint facilities, and manage the substantial tree canopy,” he said. “In 2023 the village has budgeted an additional $20,000 to improve the bathroom facilities, lighting, and safety of the park.”

An official groundbreaking for the Schoolhouse Park project was held in August of 2022, and construction of the new park is scheduled to begin in 2023. Contracts for the project are scheduled to go out for bid again at the end of January, Hinkelman said.

More information on plans for the construction of Schoolhouse Park can be seen online at the village of Covington’s website at

In addition to building the new park, the village of Covington is also working on several other upcoming construction projects planned for 2023 and 2024. New signage and lighting are planned for the downtown area, and the village is planning to invest in improving access to the Stillwater River and developing a network of internal bike trails. The village is also scheduled to begin construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in 2023, and planning renovations at the Government Center Building.

“We are looking at major renovations to our Government Center Building to make the building more efficient and safer for our employees, and to make our Council Chambers more accessible to the general public,” Hinkelman said. “This building hasn’t seen any investment since 2006.”

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