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Covington hopes new garage will ease parking strain in Mainstrasse Village

Covington hopes new garage will ease parking strain in Mainstrasse Village
Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 17:15:34-05

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Mainstrasse Village will get some of its parking back with the opening of a new garage at the popular Northern Kentucky entertainment district's gateway.

City officials announced Tuesday that 100 parking spots would become available to the public on a restricted basis as part of the RiverHaus Apartments development project. Although the parking spots will be free -- for now -- they will only be available to use between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday.

BACKGROUND: Covington prepares for looming parking challenge
IN DEPTH: How Mainstrasse highlights unique parking problems for bar districts

The city expects a parking fee structure to be implemented for the garage around the turn of the year.

"We’re well aware that construction of this exciting project took away parking used by patrons of Mainstrasse Village, and that’s why we wanted to replace that parking as soon as it was possible to do in a safe manner," City Manager David Johnston said in a news release. "This has been a long time coming, but the wet weather -- especially in early spring -- has interfered."

The mixed-use development stirred controversy last year when construction began at its 501 Main Street location. The construction meant the neighborhood (and its many bars, restaurants and retail shops) lost roughly 100 free off-street parking spaces.

The 501 Main development will bring new storefronts, apartments and a new parking garage to Covington's popular entertainment district, Mainstrasse Village. (Provided/City of Covington)

Once completed, the RiverHaus development will host 190 luxury apartments, retail space, and another 200 parking spots for residents in addition to the 100 now open to the public.

Officials expect to complete construction on the development's first phase by summer 2019.

The development was not the neighborhood's only challenge with parking. In 2016, the city implemented a paid structure for its on-street parking spaces, also to much controversy.

Only months after its implementation, then-newly elected Mayor Joe Meyer quickly discontinued to pay-to-park program after pushback from both residents and business owners.

The parking garage's opening on Tuesday came just in time for what most consider the bar district's busiest night of the year: The night before Thanksgiving.

Pat LaFleur reports on transportation and mobility for WCPO. Connect with him on Twitter (@pat_laFleur) and on Facebook.