Covington breaks ground for new Schoolhouse Park

COVINGTON — “The value of unique and diverse public open spaces is not something that people should ever take for granted,” said Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman.

The village of Covington held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Schoolhouse Park project on Wednesday, Aug. 31. The planning and funding phases of the project have been in the works for multiple years. The Schoolhouse Park will be “in the heart of the village,” said Hinkelman.

The land where the park will be built is rich with history involving the youth of the village. Previously, there was a high school and junior high built there. The junior high building was torn down in 2016 following the construction of the newer K-8 building which is attached to the high school.

Mayor Ed McCord spoke at the ceremony and said, “This property has always meant so much to the growth, development, and future of the next generation of Covington residents. For years, it was dedicated to education and was a place where many life-long memories were created.”

McCord provided details about what amenities will be available for the public at the park which include a pavilion, an amphitheater, a splash pad, a climbing wall for children, and playground equipment. The playground equipment and climbing wall among other amenities will be added upon receiving funding. McCord provided possible events and programming that could be utilized at the park with these amenities including local musicians, school activities, local church activities, and community food truck rallies.

“I look forward to seeing this park serve as a central meeting place for children, as a walking path, a weeknight meetup sight for families as a walkable, safe, vibrant, public space for the Village of Covington for everyone to use,” said McCord.

Covington Village Council President Jesse Reynolds, spoke as well. He spoke about the funding received for the project which included donations from individuals, businesses, grants, and other avenues.

According to Reynolds, “total private donations towards the project total to $731,000, which includes the UVMC Parent Board donation of $450,000 and the beneficiaries support from the Roy J. Weikert Trust of $100,000.”

Other state and federal grants were received. All donations and grants totaled to $1,756,000 to help support the construction of the park, Reynolds shared.

To end the ceremony, Hinkelman challenged the audience to return to the park in one year, five years, and 10 years to see the growth and development of the community.

“The vibrancy, the diversity of activities, and the quality of life that this park will create for our community is why this park matters so much,” concluded Hinkelman.