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Groundbreaking for Victorian at Riverside ushers in new era, mission still guided by founding principles

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Ground was ceremonially broken on the new wing of The Victorian at Riverside, formerly Covington Ladies Home, Wednesday.

Lifelong Northern Kentuckian and former Turfway Park track announcer Mike Battaglia, whose mother is a resident of Victorian at Riverside, emceed the groundbreaking (photos by Mark Hansel, click to enlarge).

The expansion is in response to an increased demand for personalized care options for elderly women from across the region.

Former Turfway Park track announcer and NBC horse racing analyst Mike Battaglia, whose mother is a resident at the facility, was master of ceremonies for the event.

“We welcome you to a truly special, groundbreaking day you might say, in the history of personal care service for senior women in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. Battaglia said. “Today marks the ceremonial start of construction for the state-of-the-art, new wing for historic nonprofit the Victorian at Riverside.”

The expansion will nearly double the number of available rooms for residents and provide access to an enclosed, outdoor courtyard, expanded dining room and additional gathering rooms for various activities and programming.

Victorian at Riverside CEO Carrie Vanderzee  said the expansion story truly represents a community effort and is another milestone in the facility’s important place in history.

“We have been fortunate to enjoy the help and friendship of our neighbors and of the families of our residents,” Vanderzee said.

Victorian at Riverside CEO Carrie Vanderzee (standing at podium), said the expansion is truly a community effort.

“Just like our addition will seamlessly fit with our historic building, our new campus will seamlessly fit the needs of serving senior women for the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region, as we always have.”

Board Chair Dr. Vicki Berling said those who have known Victorian at Riverside for many years as the Covington Ladies Home also know that it will always be rooted in Covington.

“Our heart really goes out to Greater Cincinnati and all of Northern Kentucky because we know there is a need for the kind of facility that we are becoming, effective today,” Berling said. “It’s been an exciting year, the change represents our new branding, our new understanding of our role in this community. The boomers for the next two decades will be needing to avail themselves of services just like this.”

The addition will include 40 Wi-Fi and cable ready private, single rooms with en-suite baths, but the mission will remain the same.

“What we want to continue to be known as is a place where women can age with dignity in a high-quality environment at an affordable price,” Berling said. “We will remain committed to those values throughout our tenure here.”

With that in mind,  Victorian at Riverside will continue to offer 24-hour care, chef-prepared meals and medication dispensing services throughout the community. Residents of the new wing will also have access to the Victorian parlor, beauty salon, chapel and other offices in the current structure.

A rendering of the expanding Victorian at Riverside as it will appear when construction is completed in the Spring of 2021 (provided).

The Victorian at Riverside rebranded in early 2019. The change honors the Victorian home that founder, Ellen Battelle Dietrick, started in 1886.

The public and private expectations of women in that era presented great challenges to Dietrick’s effort. While she was cognizant of those expectations, she was not constrained by them.

Just as Dietrick’s resilience led to the founding of the Covington Ladies Home, the determination of today’s leaders spearheaded this expansion project.

Covington Mayor Joseph U. Meyer acknowledged the legacy of strong leadership that has guided first the Covington Ladies Home, and now Victorian at Riverside, throughout its 133-year history.

“They have been great contributors to  the welfare and environment of this place we call home and they are ready to start a new chapter in their life with the addition of these 40 new, state-of-the art rooms, so they can better serve and provide personal care for elderly women,” Meyer said. “It’s a great project and they will continue to be stalwarts in our community.”

The Victorian is a nonprofit organization and the expansion was made possible through charitable contributions and financing.

Ashley Construction will oversee the expansion, which is slated for completion in the Spring of 2021.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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