Devou Park Overlook to be refreshed in honor of local business, government leader

Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton Hornbeck
Kenton is a reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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After Drees Homes chairman and former Kenton Co. Judge/Executive Ralph Drees passed away in March of last year, his daughter, Barbara Drees Jones, searched for a way to properly honor his legacy.

At Tuesday’s night’s Covington city commission meeting, Drees Jones presented her idea: funding and renovating the Devou Park Overlook, the popular regional destination where visitors enjoy sweeping, uninterrupted views of the Cincinnati and Covington skylines, and the Ohio River.

The project is dubbed the Devou Park Memorial Overlook Enhancement.

“My father, unfortunately, passed away last year, and we as a company, really wanted to do something to honor him,” Jones told the commission. “All of our employees wanted to do something that was in line with what he always did.”

The item was placed on the consent agenda for next weeks regularly scheduled legislative meeting, indicating likely approval.

In 2003, Ralph Drees came before the commission to propose the idea of building and donating an event center to Devou Park in commemoration of the Drees Homes 75th anniversary.

One year later, the Drees Pavilion opened its doors. Since its completion in 2004, over $6.3 million has been invested in Devou Park through the proceeds from Drees Pavilion.

Drees Jones worked with Cincinnati-based design firm MSP Design. Drees Homes utilizes MSP for different design projects around the region.

“My father died last March, and we started working on this in the fall,” Drees Jones said.

The five points of emphasis for the Overlook Enhancement include:

  • Adding permanent signage for the Drees Pavilion.
  • Adding a connecting sidewalk from the roundabout drive to the Drees Pavilion, and moving the flagpole to the roundabout.
  • Improving the aesthetics of the ADA ramp, picnic area and viewpoints from the parking lot, the roundabout, gazebo and the Pavilion.
  • Adding engaging swings and convenient seat walls that take advantage of the view, and the Pavilion.
  • Adding a commemorative plaque honoring the life of Ralph Drees.
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The backlit Drees Pavilion sign. | Photo via Drees Homes and MSP Design.
An overview concept of the renovation to the Overlook at Devou Park. | Photo via Drees Homes and MSP Design.
An overview design of the steps at the Overlook in Devou Park. | Photo via Drees Homes and MSP Design.

The project will be funded by the Drees Homes Foundation. Drees will also oversee the project and will be in charge of it’s construction.

“The Drees Company and certainly your father and your mother have been great partners with our city,” Vice Mayor Ron Washington said. “Devou Park is absolutely beautiful and it looks like it will get a lot better.”

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