What in the world is go­ing on with Le­gion Field?

The Covington News - - LIVING -

On Mill Street be­tween Floyd Street and New­ton Drive is Le­gion Field. In a world of de­vel­op­ment it is a pre­cious piece of green space. It holds mem­o­ries of fairs dat­ing back to the thir­ties. Base­ball, football, soc­cer, and yes, cricket have been played in this space. And the ex­cit­ing news is it is get­ting a ma­jor “redo”.

Prob­a­bly the first thing you no­tice as you go past Le­gion Field is the im­pres­sive new en­try. It was de­signed to give the look of a “his­tor­i­cal fair­ground en­trance.” It is built high and wide enough to han­dle any­thing that can travel on the in­ter­state sys­tem. This is not to say that a new in­ter­state is com­ing to town, but rather any trailer or ride that can be trans­ported on the in­ter­state can be brought into Le­gion Field.

Also as a part of the en­try area there is a new per­ma­nent ticket booth with pedes­trian en­tries for tick­eted events. While many uses of the field will not re­quire tick­ets, this will fa­cil­i­tate those where en­try needs to be con­trolled.

A new open air pav­il­ion has been built on the foot­print of one built some sixty year or so ago. It had fallen into dis­re­pair to the point of not be­ing safe. Sev­eral years ago it was torn down. A new one has been built to match the look of the r e f u r bi s h ed Fair or Ex­hibit Build­ing. The pav­il­ion will be used for dis­plays, pic­nics, booths for the fair and other fes­ti­vals.

The old Fair Build­ing is be­ing com­pletely re­fur­bished. It is also called, by some, the Ex­hibit Build­ing for in the past you en­tered the fair through this build­ing. Thus pass­ing the ex­hibits first. The win­dows had been blocked up. Now they have been opened up again with new win­dow panes. There are 6,000 square feet of space for a va­ri­ety of uses. There also will be re­strooms and a cater­ing area for those us­ing the space for ban­quets and re­cep­tions. The re­stroom will be like the new ones re­cently build near the square.

Randy Vin­cent, Plan­ning and Zon­ing Di­rec­tor, has been the one in charge of the plan­ning and im­ple­ment­ing of the pro­ject. He has worked closely with Mayor Ron­nie John­ston and the City Coun­cil as well as with the Amer­i­can Le­gion.

Le­gion Field was orig­i­nally the prop­erty of the Ameri- can Le­gion. It was both a fair ground for the Le­gion’s an­nual fair as well as a place where Amer­i­can Le­gion Base­ball was played. When de­vel­op­ers be­gan to show in­ter­est in the prop­erty. The lo­cal Le­gion and its lead­ers de­cided to sell the prop­erty to the city so go­ing for­ward there will would be green space for the fair and other out­door uses.

The agree­ment was for the city to pur­chase Le­gion Field over a ten year pe­riod with no in­ter­est. The price was about half of what the de­vel­op­ers had of­fered ac­cord­ing to Don Floyd, re­tired Cov­ing­ton Fire Chief. Don has served as the li­ai­son be­tween the Amer­i­can Le­gion and the City con­cern­ing Le­gion Field. He shared mem­o­ries of base­ball games both by high school teams as well as Amer­i­can Le­gion teams.

High School football was played on the field be­fore Sharp Me­mo­rial Sta­dium was built ac­cord­ing to Don. If you go by on Sun­day af­ter­noon to­day you might just catch a Cricket Match bring played by those who brought their love for the game with them as they came to our com­mu­nity.

The de­ci­sion by the Le­gion, is just another ex­am­ple of how our com­mu­nity pulls to­gether to make a dif­fer­ence for the com­mon good. Mem­bers of the Le­gion have given great ser­vice to our na­tion and the legacy of Le­gion Field is another gift from the Le­gion.

Fund­ing for the re­build­ing of Le­gion Field has come from the Ho­tel/Mo­tel Tax. Those who come to our city to visit pay this mod­est tax that in turn is used to build projects such as Le­gion Field and re­fur­bish­ing of the square. This draws even more to en­joy our city.

Fu­ture plans en­vi­sion a raised ar­eas for per­for­mances with a band shell for acous­tics. This is pro­jected to be at the back of the field. This would al­low out­door space for con­certs. Join­ing our present ar­eas such as the Square and Turner Lake for bring­ing en­ter­tain­ment to our city.

B. WILEY STEPHENS

COLUM­NIST

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