A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington starts process for IRS demolition this week, mayor wants alternative sites for vaccines

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

Next up for the IRS site? A big ol’ demolition.

And that process will begin later this week when Covington City Manager David Johnston issues two Requests for Qualifications for demolition and environmental remediation of the site.

But before he does that, he wanted to give a bit of a lesson to the city commission, who was again meeting remotely Tuesday night at their regularly scheduled caucus. Johnston explained why the city chose to go the RFQ route, instead of going with an RFP, or Request for Proposals.

There is a difference, Johnston explained. An RFP is for “well-defined” projects, and it’s a simpler process where interested parties submit a bid and the lowest is picked. But it doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate is the best.

The Covington Commission is meeting virtually for now.

An RFQ, according to Johnston, can get a more qualified firm to work for you. This process is not just focused on the lowest price. This helps you find “a very good, responsible, professional firm that will do the work necessary,” Johnston said. With this process, you can find out the business’ philosophy, experience, etc., and then negotiate a contract — which the commission would then have to approve.

Mayor Joseph U. Meyer wondered why the city’s normal demolition team couldn’t do the job, and Johnston responded that the IRS site is a much bigger project than what the city normally handles, which is something like a house.

Johnston said he would issue the RFQs Thursday, and it would take about five weeks to find the right firm to handle the demolition. Then there will be a two-week review process.

The other RFQ will handle environmental remediation, partly because there is asbestos present — which is probably another good reason why the city’s workers shouldn’t be demolishing the site.

Then, next week, Johnston said he will issue another RFQ for engineering and design of the horizontal infrastructure of the site — things like roads, etc.

Mayor requests alternative vaccination sites

How will the city’s elderly be able to travel to the few COVID vaccination sites set up for Covington residents?

That’s the question that’s been weighing on Mayor Meyer’s mind, and now he’s trying to do something about it. There are sites for those who qualify to get their vaccination, namely:

HealthPoint Family Care
1401 Madison Avenue, Covington

NKY Health
Lakeside Christian Church, 195 Buttermilk Pike, Ft. Mitchell

St Elizabeth Healthcare
St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center (SETEC)
3861 Olympic Boulevard, Erlanger

But some are questioning how the elderly could get to those sites.

So, Mayor Meyer is interested in finding alternatives for these residents. One idea is to deliver these vaccines straight to their senior facilities and residencies — “in the lobby of those buildings,” he said. Another is to have more drive-thru options.

Without a single medical facility in South Covington or Latonia, city officials say it is imperative to make more options available.

Mayor Meyer also met this week with Kenton County Judge Executive Kris Knochelmann, and he said they are considering opening up the Northern Kentucky Convention Center for vaccinations, as well as the IRS site for drive-thru service — so long as it does not interfere with the planned demolition of the site.

“I think it’s important for the people of Covington to know,” Mayor Meyer said, the city is trying to get “this vaccine to our population.”

Ethics board needs to be more diverse

Make no mistake, Commissioner Michelle Williams said. She wants to thank these people for volunteering their service. But something needs to be done.

At issue are the appointments of Marcus Carey, Robert F. Greene, Darryl Cummins, Robert Sanders, Tom Quirk, Bryce Rhoades and Jack Westwood as members of the NKREA Enforcement Committee for a two-year term, beginning Feb. 1 and expiring Jan. 31, 2023.

“I didn’t mean for this to blow up this way,” she said. For the past few weeks, Williams has argued that this group of people does not necessarily represent the three counties in northern Kentucky that the NKREA represents. She said a “more diverse committee” should represent them.

And the rest of the commissioners agreed. They decided to agree with the appointments in a resolution at next week’s legislative meeting, but also decided to draft a letter to encourage a more diverse group for the next round of appointments in 2023.

They wanted to make sure to note they appreciated these people, who volunteered to serve, but that they just needed a more diverse group in the future.


Members wished Commissioner Shannon Smith a very happy birthday.

“I can’t think of a better group to hang out with on their birthday,” Commissioner Ron Washington joked. 

Next meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Jan. 26. The meeting can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

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