The 'crown jewel' of Wilder would be a secret no longer with these ambitious plans

Frederick’s Landing in Wilder has a long history, going back to its construction by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1965. Back then, it was designed as a flood zone to hold back the waters of the Licking and Ohio rivers.

It’s been a park for decades with a playground and boat launch, picnic tables and a shelter. The federal government transferred ownership of the land to Wilder, a city of 3,000 people, in 2004.

City officials now have ambitious plans for Frederick’s Landing envisioning it as a focal point of the city’s redevelopment. High on the priority list is a $1.4 million amphitheater at Frederick’s Landing that would be the scene of concerts and other events to bring people to the park.

“Frederick’s Landing is really the crown jewel of Wilder,” said city administrator Terry Vance. “It’s a hidden secret for most people unless you boat.”

The project received a big boost recently with the award of a $250,000 state grant. The Land and Water Conservation Fund grant provides money to help construct the new community amphitheater as well as the surrounding improvements that need to be made, such as enhancements to parking, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and underground utilities to support the new structure.

In 2018, Wilder officials surveyed residents and had a comprehensive plan drafted that was called “Growing Wilder: Envisioning Tomorrow.” City leaders saw a need to attract new residents and businesses to the city and encourage those already there to stay.

The plan prioritizes land use that encourages outdoor recreation and community gatherings instead of plans that would encourage the proliferation of businesses such as convenience stores and bank branches.

Included in the plan is a dining establishment that would overlook Frederick’s Landing and the Licking River and a splash park.

The state grant will provide the impetus to move forward on the project because the money must be used by the end of 2022, Vance said.

Wilder’s grant was the largest of four made in Northern Kentucky from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The others were:

  • The city of Bromley was awarded $75,000 to construct a new shelter, restroom, and concession area for Bromley Park. The updates will provide a place for family gatherings, civic events and extra seating for those using the park.
  • The City of Covington was awarded $81,755 for the second of three phases in its redevelopment plan for Barb Cook Park. With the funding, the city will update basketball courts, shade structures, shelters, soccer goals, picnic tables, trash cans, water fountains and landscaping.
  • The City of Dayton was awarded $91,043 to revamp the Sargeant Park Trail. The project will construct 2.2 miles of eight-foot wide hillside trails for hiking, walking and biking. The city will also install trailhead signs, bike racks, trash cans, benches and a drinking fountain to increase park usage.


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David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.