COVINGTON — The city of Covington will repair the roof of the building at Legion Field, a first step in improvements to the fairground that officials hope will ultimately become an entertainment venue.
The cost to repair the roof is estimated at $28,000. The city has budgeted $30,000 toward the project from the general fund for the current budget year, according to City Manager Leigh Anne Knight.
The Festival of Trees Committee, which hosts an annual event during the holiday season, is considering using the facility, she said. Proceeds from the Festival of Trees will benefit the Miracle League. The group will need permission from the Recreation Commission, which currently leases Legion Field.
The City Council voted in May to terminate that lease agreement, effective Jan. 1, in order to begin the conversion into an entertainment venue, complete with ampitheater, a rebuilt pavilion area, new entries and remodeling of the existing building.
The roof must be stabilized to make the building habitable, along with a few other improvements, which Knight said the city’s facilities maintenance staff and volunteers will handle.
As for how the full project will be funded, “There is not a definite cost estimate at this time. We are taking this project one step at a time. We will be exploring the options (of) private donation to assist with the costs, but have not begun this process,” Knight said.
Planning Director Randy Vinson, who has designed a model of the planned facilities, previously said they will include an ampitheater with a bandshell that is 36 feet tall and 36 feet across at the stage opening.
“It is designed to be constructed out of rough-sawn pine that we will have milled from trees at the city’s land application facility,” he said.
The concrete slab stage will sit on a 4 foot tall granite base and be sited in the southwest corner of the park facing out toward U.S. Hwy. 278.
“The intent is to use the traditional form of a bandshell to help direct the sound out toward the audience, thereby reducing the need for amplification as well as keeping the sound directed toward the more commercial areas and away from the residential areas,” he said.
Plans also include a 150 x 38-foot pavilion to be constructed out of rough-sawn pine timbers, with granite bases at each column and pine columns and beams holding the roof structure.
“The design will be similar to the pavilions in Turner Lake Park and Clark’s Grove and will be placed where the old pavilion was,” Vinson said.
“The existing fair building will be renovated and the restrooms will be upgraded. We would like to put a new granite veneer base below the window sills, open up the blocked in windows and add operable wooden shutters to protect the windows when the building is not in use,” he added.
“We will also build a monumental gateway into the park off Mill Street out of rough-sawn pine with a granite base. The gateway will be large enough to accommodate tractor-trailers,” he continued. “The same design for the monumental gateway can be used in a scaled down version at two new proposed pedestrian access points, one near the YMCA parking lot and the other at the end of Sockwell Street.”