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Covington gives $38,000 in incentives to small businesses; lease on City Hall renewed for four years

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

They are the backbone of the city, says Mayor Joseph U. Meyer – and because of their importance, Covington’s small businesses deserved help.

That’s why in June, the city commission increased their incentives, expanding the area of the Small Business Program to include the entire city and its neighborhoods.

On Tuesday night, at their regularly scheduled legislative meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve $38,236 in first-year rent and façade improvements to seven small businesses representing five neighborhoods.

“These businesses give us our uniqueness and our creativity,” Meyer said. “They give us the bulk of our job creation over time.”

Rent subsidies were awarded to:

  • Chictore Boutique at 531 Madison Ave., for $6,000.
  • Handzy Shop + Studio at 15 W. Pike St., for $6,000.
  • Wellfit at 807 Madison Ave., for $6,000.

Façade improvements were awarded for:

  • Egelston-Maynard at 525 Madison Ave., for $3,250.
  • Herb & Thelma’s at 718 Pike St., for $6,000.
  • Fun Shine Child Care at 21 E. 32nd, for $6,000.
  • Custom Woodworking Unlimited at 9 W. Southern Ave., for $4,986.

Joe Fessler, owner of Herb & Thelma’s tavern, said he was pleased to learn that the city had approved the improvements.

“We’re very happy and excited,” he said. “Now we can get this building looking the way it should look.”

Plans for the building include new exterior paint, new exterior lighting and repairing the windows. Under the old Small Business Program, Fessler’s property would not have been eligible for the incentives. Now it is, and the changes were something Fessler, along with other small business owners, had pushed for.

Meyer applauded the Commission Tuesday night for choosing to help the owners.

“We took (this) business incentive program and made it citywide to support all the neighborhoods in Covington,” he said. “Good job to the Commission and good job to the small business owners.”

City Hall lease renewed 

With the City Hall building’s lease up for renewal this October, commissioners agreed to renew it for four years, with the idea that they will also utilize the time to look for a new home.

With three floods in the City Hall’s basement already this year, as well as an ever-increasingly large staff, City Manager David Johnston said last week that the building is not capable of providing what the city needs over the long haul.

The annual lease amount would be $255,000, which would be a 2 percent increase, or $417 per month.

There would also be a tenant improvement allowance of $15,000, with some other upgrades. For instance, the building is receiving a new roof this year, Johnston said, paid for by the landlord.

“We’re going to be here for a while,” Meyer said, before adding they would soon start a process to look for another building.

Also Tuesday:

  • Commissioners approved a proposal to accept a bid from Gun Range Builder for $124,928 to upgrade the Firearms Range at Police Headquarters. Officials said last week the current Firearms Range Target Retrieval System has been inoperable for many years and repairs have not been made because its manufacturer is no longer in business.
  • Commissioners approved an order for a Reciprocal Affiliation Agreement with St. Elizabeth Healthcare. In an effort to continue to improve the teamwork between Pre-hospital and In-hospital care providers, as well as provide an understanding of the unique challenges faced by each provider type and improve the continuum of care for patients, this Reciprocal Affiliation will allow St Elizabeth Healthcare Emergency Department Nurses to “ride-along on Covington Fire Department ambulances as observers and gain a better understanding of the circumstances and environments from which emergency patients originate,” the city proposal says.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., Sept. 18, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com


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