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Covington moves forward on Pointe Benton retention basin; young readers in Reading Challenge lauded

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

The latest step to alleviate flooding in the Peaselburg neighborhood is moving forward.

City Commissioners — who were once again meeting virtually thanks to the COVID-19 quarantine — heard a request to accept a design proposal from Integrated Engineers for the Pointe Benton stormwater retention basins.

Using a FEMA grant of $114,800, the city is considering selecting the engineers to design the basins to help mitigate stormwater runoff.

The city received bids from three companies, but after review of the proposals and interviews, staff selected Integrated Engineering, Public Works Director Chris Warneford said.

In heavy rains, the area (as well as others across the city) has been plagued with sewer backup and serious flooding. For years, residents have asked what could be done to remedy the situation.

<The Mayor’s Reading Challenge

Commissioner Denny Bowman asked about the timetable of the project, and Warneford responded that the final design is due Oct. 21, with construction to begin next year. The contract states the project should be finished by March 31, 2021.

Commissioner Michelle Williams made sure to temper the expectations of residents.

“This will not eliminate flooding,” she said. “It will reduce it. This is just phase one of what’s to come.”

The acceptance of the contract was placed on the consent agenda for next Tuesday’s legislative meeting.

Young readers praised

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer took time Tuesday to highlight the winners and the productivity of the 2020 Read Across Covington Challenge, which began March 1 and ended April 15.

During the period, 1,441 Covington children read more than 15.2 million words.

The challenge was offered through the Read Ready Covington early childhood literacy program, which the city kicked off in November 2018 to get young students off to a better start in school.

“It’s been a boon to the teachers,” Mayor Meyer said, noting how parents have been working with their children while they’ve been at home during the quarantine. “The work was remarkable.”

Meyer noted that the winner of the challenge was 4-year-old Owen Tobergta, a preschooler at James E. Biggs Early Childhood Education Center. Owen finished the entire curriculum through the CleverKidsUniversity app, which he also used to start learning Spanish.

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See the NKyTribune’s story on Covington’s model reading program here.
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IRS site bonds will get a second reading

Next week, commissioners will hear a second reading on an ordinance to issue the city $30 million in bonds to acquire the IRS property, with the goal to “get it ready for the market,” City Manager David Johnston said last month. The city agreed to purchase the site on March 12.

Johnston said he would return to the Commission with a recommendation when he knew more information about bond rates, and Mayor Meyer agreed the Commission would need to be consulted before the final decision was made.

Mayor Meyer encouraged the public to visit the city website and become familiar with the ordinance themselves before they will hear the second reading and vote next week.

Also Tuesday:

• Commissioner Tim Downing reminded residents to continue to be safe during the quarantine, noting how the previous days had been some of the deadliest since the COVID-19 virus came to America. “Remember to be safe, wear a mask and remain socially distant until we have our arms wrapped around this,” he said.

“Everybody be safe,” Mayor Meyer added.

• Commissioners again encouraged residents to fill out their Census 2020 materials to make sure to provide an accurate count for the federal government. 

This time, it was Commissioner Williams pleading with the East Side of town to come through, saying “whenever you’re put up to a challenge, you guys are there.”

“We need these numbers to come up,” she said.

• Commissioners decided to move forward with the purchasing of an automatic tire changer for $31,723.10. It was also put on the consent agenda for next week. 

• Commissioners made sure to notify the public of the city’s next budget meeting, which will be 10 a.m., Saturday. Residents are encouraged to use the streaming link to watch the meeting.

• Commissioners moved forward with the hiring of police applicant Charles W. Beil Ill as a Police Officer Grade VI, which will bring the office up to their full 114 authorized positions. The order was put on the consent agenda for next week. 

The next regularly-scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., May 12. Residents are encouraged to watch it online, and send in comments beforehand.

Meetings will be broadcast live through the TBNK’s cable and at the city’s site

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