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Covington to purchase Russell Street building for Public Works; new site a ‘significant improvement’

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It will finally be a suitable home.

At least that was the assessment of Mayor Joseph U. Meyer, who was making reference to the property at 1730 Russell St. in Covington, where the city plans to move its Public Works Department.

Commissioners, who were once again meeting remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, announced the intended purchase of the property at their regularly scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night, and they put the plan on the consent agenda for next week’s legislative meeting.

The 68,000 square-foot building sits on 3.68 acres of land, is owned by 1730 Russell Street, LLC, and will cost the city $2.65 million.

“We’re finally giving Public Works a home they can be proud of,” Meyer said. “A far more stable environment for them to work.”

“This is a good facility that meets our needs,” said Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith.

But Commissioner Tim Downing did wonder how much money would be needed to refurbish the building and get it ready for the Public Works Department. It was a question Smith did not really know the answer to at the moment, but he did say the purchase contract allows for city officials to investigate it — and they will.

The sale of the building does come with certain conditions, city officials said. One is that it is contingent upon the sale of the current Public Works site on Boron Drive. Last month, the city announced it would be selling the waste transfer station in Latonia, (which is also the current site of Public Works), to Rumpke for $8 million.

“It’s a very significant improvement,” Meyer said.

Also Tuesday:

• Commissioners moved forward with a $225,538 contract with DWA Recreation Inc., for the construction of phase one of Barb Cook Park, which was chosen for redevelopment by the ad hoc park advisory group. Barb Cook Park is the third park to be redeveloped through this process (Father Hanses was first in 2017, followed by Peaselburg Park in 2019).

• Commissioners heard a renewal contract for David Lillich as a Contract Officer. This will keep the police force at its maximum 114 authorized officers.

• Commissioners entered into a 10-year, non-exclusive, telecommunications franchise agreement with MCI metro Access Transmission Services Corp.

• Commissioners agreed to give an extension to the Devou Good Project, Inc., to install bicycle racks in the public right-of-way. Originally, the project was supposed to be finished by May 1, but due to the pandemic, completion has been delayed. Staff recommended the project be extended to Nov. 1, 2020.

• Commissioners agreed to execute a lease agreement with the Behringer-Crawford Museum for the portion of Devou Park currently being operated by the museum.

“Staff is recommending a new lease as an update to the one entered into in 1993,” city documents say. “The lease term is two years with (the museum) having the option to extend for three one-year additions. The lease payment is $1 per year. The city will cover the utility costs up to $40,000 and provide operating support in the amount of $10,000. These terms are the same as the current agreement with The Carnegie.”

All of these items were placed 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 26. Residents are encouraged to watch it online, and send in comments beforehand.

Meetings will be broadcast live through the TBNK’s cable and streaming outlets and available at:

https://tbnk.vod.castus.tv/vod/?live=ch1&nav=live  to watch the live commission meeting Tuesday

https://www.covingtonky.gov/government/mayor-commissioners  (click on “latest videos” just under the photos of the commissioners)

Or watch:
Fioptics channel 815
Spectrum Channel 203

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