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Kenton County sets sights on old Bavarian Brewery in Covington for county administration building


Questions about the future of the old Bavarian Brewery property in Covington are about to be put to rest: Kenton County is planning to purchase and renovate the long-vacant property for the county’s administrative offices.

On Tuesday, the Kenton County Fiscal Court will initiate the “first prong of a three-phased effort to improve the access of Kenton County citizens to their government” by purchasing the 4.5 acres on which the old brewery sits immediately off the 12th Street interstate exit in Covington.

The plan is to locate the county administration building in a place that offers “great access to residents with all the surface parking we’ll ever need.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to make county government more accessible and efficient for our citizens,” said Judge-Executive Kris Knockelmann.

Knockelmann said the county is also continuing to develop a plan for the Courthouse in Independence to make it a better provider of services.

“At the completion of our efforts in Independence and Covington, along with the technology improvements we’re undertaking, we’ll offer Kenton Countians the most accessible and efficient government services they’ve ever experienced,” Knockelmann said.

When the current county administration building opened in 1969, it contained the City of Covington, the courts of the now 16th Judicial District, the Kenton County Jail, and the Kenton County Fiscal Court. One-by-one, most of those tenants moved out and the county was left with a 50-year-old building that is about 40 percent utilized, in a location away from major traffic arteries and with little surface parking.

The building has been offered to Northern Kentucky University for use in creating an urban campus. But if that opportunity doesn’t materialize, Knockelmann said, the county will work with other developers to convert the building to private use.

“The new county building will ultimately go down in history as one of Kenton County’s great accomplishments,” said commissioner Jon Draud. “I am proud to be a part of this outstanding achievement. The new facility will make it convenient for all citizens to participate in their government.”

Appreciating the history

The county plans to make every effort to incorporate the old brewery building into the planning for the new county administration building.

“We’ll learn a lot more in the months to come,” said Knockelmann, “but I’m confident that the old tower at the Bavarian Brewery will remain an iconic structure in Covington and Kenton County for many, many years to come.

“It’s a good day for our community. I believe these actions will provide a strong platform from which to deliver high quality services to our residents for the remainder of this century, and that’s a great outcome for all Kenton Countians.”

Commissioner Joe Neinaber agreed.

“The redevelopment of the Bavarian Brewery site into the Kenton County Administrative Building is an exciting opportunity on many levels,” Neinaber said. “First and foremost it provides a highly accessible and efficient location for all citizens of Kenton County. Direct interstate access, ample surface parking and opportunities to combine multiple county services in one location will benefit both the residents and businesses of the county. This development will help secure a big part of the history of Covington and Kenton County and help stimulate private investment in a highly visible and vital corridor.”

Commissioner Beth Sewell said the location is a “great neighborhood” that will provide accessible services.

“The redevelopment of the old Bavarian Brewery will make a strong statement welcoming folks to Covington, Kenton County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” she said. “It’s a great neighborhood compliment to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the Center for Great Neighborhoods, and the Linden Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. 

“I look forward to collaborating with the Westside Neighborhood Association and other surrounding neighborhoods to put together a redevelopment vision that respects the existing historical character of the site, while utilizing the space to provide quality services. Over the last two decades of living and working in Covington, I have witnessed and been a part of many significant improvements to the community, and this one will certainly be a worthy addition to that list.”

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