NEWPORT, Ky. - Newport on the Levee has even more competition with the grand opening of Smale Park since opening 10 years ago in Northern Kentucky.
The Ohio side of the river has finally gotten its act together with the opening of several bars, restaurants, and apartment buildings.
Friday's grand opening of the new $40 million Smale Riverfront Park is expected to entice thousands of visitors each week to the riverfront entertainment district at the base of the Roebling Suspension Bridge.
Smale Park includes restaurants, a stage and lawn for concerts, a new bike and Segway center, a play water feature for people to cool off and a running path along the river bank.
Management at Newport on the Levee say they've been keeping an eye on the development across the river.
They've been working on new marketing strategies to keep customers coming back once Smale Park opens.
"We've actually really ramped up our social media efforts over the past year. Twitter, Facebook, we have skyrocketed. We have about 19,000 people following us on Facebook, which is awesome," explained Newport on the Levee marketing director Christy Gloyd.
Some Newport Levee visitors say they are looking forward to more entertainment options along the river.
"With everything just brand new we really haven't had a chance to explore. We're excited to see the new park and all the new restaurants and things to do around there (at The Banks)," said April Robles of Colerain Township.
Gloyd says the Levee realizes people will be attracted to The Banks and all the new development at Smale Park.
She says the marketing department has come up with different strategies to target people attending the Reds games.
"This year we're really doing some new initiatives. One is our park and play program where we entice people to park here before a Reds game and play at our venues like the restaurants and Gameworks and play before and after the game," Gloyd said.
Gloyd says people can then walk across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge to get to the game from the $5 parking garage at the Levee.
One Newport Levee visitor believes both sides will benefit from the new development in downtown Cincinnati.
"I think both of them are going to win because when they get tired over here they'll go over there for a day or they'll walk over the bridge and come over here. I think everybody will make out perfectly," said Howard Kelly of Florence.
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