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More development on the way in Covington, Monarch Building, Streetscape projects will move forward

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

More changes and updates are on the way in Covington, this time courtesy of the Economic Development and Public Works departments.

First, City Commissioners heard a proposed order at their regularly-scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night to enter into an economic development agreement and payment in lieu of taxes agreement with Monarch, LLC.

For 20 years, the building at 103 E. Fourth St. has stood vacant. The Monarch Building Project will be a reuse and expansion of the historic 10,000-square-foot building, transforming it into a four-story, 30,000-square-foot, single-tenant, Class A office building.

A well-known regional law firm — Economic Development Director Tom West said he cannot yet reveal the name — has selected the Monarch Building as “their preferred option for a long-term office location,” the city said, and they have signed a letter of intent for a 15-year lease.

The firm will bring 79 new jobs to the city and the total project will cost just over $11.3 million.

West said the project would produce a $1.65 million net new revenue over 15 years.

The city will provide industrial revenue bonds and a tax increment finance incentive. West also said the project should start construction in May or June, and must be completed by October of 2021.

The proposal will be on the regular agenda at the Commission’s legislative meeting next Tuesday.

Commissioners also heard more Streetscape project proposals Tuesday night.

With funding awarded through the Surface Transportation Program for Northern Kentucky through OKI and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), up to $350,000 has been allocated for the design phase for improvements for sidewalk, roadway and traffic signal improvements along Madison Avenue from 8th Street to 11th Street. 

KYTC will reimburse the City 80 percent of the costs for the design, utilities and construction phases for the project.

Similarly, another $350,000 was awarded for the design phase for sidewalk, roadway and traffic signal improvements along 7th Street, from Washington Street to Greenup Street.

City Manager David Johnston made sure to note how important it is for the city to get moving on these projects because OKI will not approve more funding without seeing progress on the city’s existing ventures.

“It’s very important to get these moving,” he said. “We have more ideas.”

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer noted how these projects should be finished by Oct. 20, and he wondered if the city would be able to apply for more funding before then — or would the city have to wait until after?

Johnston said they would have to investigate that possibility.

Also Tuesday:

City recommends sale of 1321 Hazen St.

In July 2017, the city acquired 1322 Hazen St. for blight removal using non-federal funds. 

The property is still vacant. In December, an appraiser determined the value to be $4,500. City staff is recommending that the property be sold at that amount to Michael and Joelle Gross who live on Hazen and also own the abutting property.

The proposal was slated for the consent agenda next Tuesday.

City recommends settling lawsuit with Stephen Mark Horn

City staff recommended proceeding with the settlement of disputed litigation stemming from the arrest of Stephen Mark Horn in 2013. The proposed settlement will “dismiss all pending and possible claims on appeal against the city and all city-related defendants and the city and all city-related defendants expressly deny any wrongdoing and do not admit any liability for the allegations in Mr. Horn’s lawsuit,” city documents say. 

Horn filed a complaint in U.S. District Court alleging “federal civil rights and state law tort claims for personal physical injuries and resultant damages” arising from his arrest on April 13, 2013.

The city is recommending a settlement of $50,000, but City Solicitor Michael Bartlett noted this is “no admission of wrongdoing.”

In fact, he went on to note that “we do not think the officers did anything wrong.”

Police will promote and hire

Covington Police Chief Rob Nader requested Commissioners consider six promotions and three hires Tuesday night, all effective March 1, 2020:

An order approving the promotion to Lieutenant of

Sgt. Jim West
Sgt. Rob Rose
Sgt. Jon Mangus

And an order approving the promotion to Sergeant of:

Det. Greg Rogers
Det. Justin Bradbury
Det. Jason McErlane

This will fill 113 out of a possible 114 city officer positions. All of the proposed will be on regular and consent agendas Tuesday, respectively.


Newly-hired Business Attraction Manager Matt Zimmerman made his first appearance at a Commission meeting Tuesday night.

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Feb. 25, 2020, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.

Contact the Northern Kentucky Tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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