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NKY Regional Alliance ready to move forward with HQ building; three more city properties sold

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It’s a building that city officials hope will send a message and take Northern Kentucky to a new level.

Karen Finan said exactly those words when she presented to the Covington City Commission in their regularly scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night.

Finan, CEO of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, asked the Commission to approve a map amendment to the Covington Zoning Ordinance changing 209 Greenup St. (0.65 acres located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Greenup Street with E. 3rd St. in Covington) from an urban residential zone to a general commercial zone.


Because the Regional Alliance wants to build a four-story office building there, with the same look as The Ascent.

“This will be a significant building,” Finan said, noting it would hopefully break ground in spring 2020.

The building would include:

*A display room containing models, photos and renderings of proposed projects
*A high-tech presentation center
*A cafeteria/food service
*Meeting rooms and huddle rooms
*A client entertainment area

Finan said this would offer better marketing for Northern Kentucky, as it would be a “one stop shop” for comprehensive services at all stages of business.

She said it would also bring several benefits to Covington, including:

*Bring more commercial real estate to the area
*Address underutilized properties
*Create safer and better pedestrian flow with tree-lined sidewalks, street lighting, and aesthetically pleasing architecture
*Beautification and landscaping
*Establish an identity for the area
*More foot traffic and heavier pedestrian experience
*Promote use of more restaurant and bar business.
*Bring more visibility to the region.

“Northern Kentucky needs a stronger and more unified identity to get the attention we deserve from both our State and our metropolitan region,” the presentation stated.

The proposed change will have a first reading at next week’s legislative meeting.

Also Tuesday:

Mayor, City Manager talk CERS

City Finance Director Muhammed Owusu presented a first quarter financial report, and City Manager David Johnston took the opportunity to mention that $1.5 million is being spent right now on the pension fund, with another $1 million to be spent next year — money that could be spent on other city services for citizens. 

“It’s a very burdensome environment,” said Mayor Joseph U. Meyer.

Asst. City Manager to be hired

Johnston informed the Commission that an assistant city manager will start Dec. 9, and will also be present Nov. 26 when the Commission approves the hire. Interviewing for the Ombudsman position will begin later in the month.

Johnston also noted that $15,000 has been spent on lights to illuminate the wreaths on the light poles on MLK.

Three properties sold

Commissioners agreed to sell three more properties: 1118 Lee St., 1407 Russell St. and 115 E. 16th St. for about $32,000, and praised Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith for his work at getting them off the city’s books.

“They’ve been sitting with the city for too long,” said Commissioner Shannon Smith.

All three proposals will be on the consent agenda next week.

KYTC grants approved

Commissioners approved two Kentucky Transportation Cabinet grants for the 7th Street Streetscape Project ($280,000 for the design phase of the 7th Street Streetscape Project from Washington to Greenup Streets. The city will responsible for the 20 percent local match funds, and any costs in excess of the reimbursable total) and the Madison Avenue Streetscape Project ($280,000 for the design phase from 8th to 11th Streets. The city will be responsible for the 20 percent local match funds, and any costs in excess of the reimbursable total). Both will be on the consent agenda next week.

Second reading of ordinances next week

Next week, the Commission will hear second readings on two ordinances:

  • The repealing/reenacting of Section 132.09 on panhandling
  • The text amendment allowing package liquor in an IL Zone. 

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Nov. 12, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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