After Drees Homes Chairman and former Kenton Co. Judge/Executive Ralph Drees passed away in March last year, his daughter, Barbara Drees Jones, searched for a way to properly honor her legacy.
At the Covington City Commission meeting on Tuesday night, Drees Jones pitched his idea: to fund and renovate the Devou Park Overlook, the popular regional destination where visitors enjoy stunning, uninterrupted views of the Cincinnati and Covington skylines. and on the Ohio River.
The project is dubbed 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 consistent with what he had always done.”
The item has been placed on the consent agenda for next week’s regular legislative meeting, indicating likely approval.
In 2003 Ralph Drees came before the commission to propose the idea of building and donating an event center at Devou Park in commemoration of Drees Homes 75th anniversary.
A year later, the Drees pavilion opened its doors. Since its completion in 2004, more than $6.3 million has been invested in Devou Park through proceeds from the Drees Pavilion.
Drees Jones worked with Cincinnati-based design firm MSP Design. Drees Homes uses MSP for various design projects in the region.
“My dad passed away last March and we started working on it in the fall,” Drees Jones said.
The five focus points for Overlook improvement include:
- Added permanent signage for the Drees Pavilion.
- Added a sidewalk connecting the roundabout to the Drees Pavilion and moved the mast to the roundabout.
- Improved the aesthetics of the ADA ramp, picnic area, and viewpoints of the parking lot, roundabout, gazebo, and pavilion.
- Add attractive swings and convenient seat walls that take advantage of the view and the gazebo.
- Added a commemorative plaque honoring the life of Ralph Drees.
The project will be funded by the Drees Homes Foundation. Drees will also oversee the project and be in charge of its construction.
“The Drees Company and certainly your father and mother have been great partners for our city,” Vice Mayor Ron Washington said. “Devou Park is absolutely beautiful and it looks like it will get much better.”