Representative Dennis Keene Makes Major Announcement for Purple People Bridge

Kentucky Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson & Representative Dennis Keene To Present Check

Project could create more than 1,000 jobs

 NEWPORT, Ky. – Representative Dennis Keene presented a check for $650,000 on Friday that paved the way for developers to proceed a major $100 million entertainment complex proposed for The Purple People Bridge that spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Newport. The check presentation and project announcement was held on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. on the Purple Bridge at the Newport on the Levee entranceway, Newport, KY.  Kentucky Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson attended the event on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet grant secured by State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, will fund an engineering study that will determine if the historic pedestrian bridge could support the entertainment project. Preliminary engineering work indicates that the bridge can support construction of the proposed development due to its eight massive limestone pillars that support bridge.

“This project will provide jobs and investment and attract tourism and visitors to the region,” said Rep. Keene, whose 67th Kentucky House district includes Newport as well as Bellevue, Dayton, Wilder, Southgate and a portion of Highland Heights. “I am pleased that I was able to play a role in working with the Transportation Cabinet in securing this grant for this historic and exciting project, which will create a one-of-kind attraction and destination for our region and jobs for our residents.”

“The Beshear/Abramson administration is pleased to partner with northern Kentucky and Rep. Keene to fund this study that will work toward improving this growing and thriving community,” said Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson. “The Governor and I are working hard to improve the quality of life all across Kentucky, and this is one more instance when we are proud to be on board of such an important project.”

The project, estimated to cost more than $100 million, will include 150,000 square feet of multi-level entertainment and lodging uses, including a boutique hotel, conference and banquet center, restaurants, pubs, and other attractions and will create more than 1,000 post-construction jobs.

“This is an exciting project for the City of Newport and all of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati,” said Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso. “This project will build on the great entertainment attractions we already have along the Ohio River front – including Newport on the Levee and The Newport Aquarium – while creating more than 1,000 construction and permanent jobs.”

The Purple People Bridge is a former vehicular and railroad bridge that was converted to a pedestrian span in 2003.

“We thank Rep. Keene for his work in securing funding for this important phase of the project,” said Wally Pagan, president of the Newport Southbank Bridge Co., owner of the Purple People Bridge. “We realize this project is in the very early stages, but the potential is tremendous for investment in the Southbank region, for employment, and for bringing visitors and tourists to the area and the region.”

The Newport Southbank Bridge Co. is currently in talks with three developers interested in the project.

“This grant will allow us to move forward on the next crucial of making this project a reality,” Pagan said. “We give our thanks to Rep. Keene for working so effectively on this very important economic development project.

“We know of no other bridge in North or South America that includes a hotel, restaurants, pubs and other attractions built right on the bridge itself,” Pagan said. “There are three bridges in Europe with this concept, but nothing in this part of the world. It truly will be an historic and one-of-kind project in the United States.

Representative Dennis Keene has served the citizens of the 67th District since 2005 and is the chairman of the House Licensing and Occupations Committee, vice chairman of Economic Development and a member of the Banking & Insurance Committee and is on the Budget Subcommittee on Transportation.  Keene is a small business owner and an economic development advisor for EGC Construction.  For more information, visit: www.DennisKeene.com.

Paid for by Dennis Keene for State Representative Campaign
LRC photos courtesy of LRC Public Information