A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Residents tell Covington commission to keep Orchard Park green; Cov Connect update

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

COVINGTON – It’s a place where neighbors meet and get to know each other, they say.

It’s where they take their children and pets for walks, where they step outside to enjoy a sunny day.

It’s a place that may just be the next site for city development — something hundreds of Westside residents say they don’t want to happen.

A handful of those residents came out to share their displeasure at Covington’s regularly scheduled legislative meeting Tuesday night. They said they do not want Orchard Park — their only greenspace — to be developed by the city.

No matter what the city wants to put on the site, and even if the city has, for years, been letting residents use the land for a community garden.

No, these residents came out to speak against development. Both young and old spoke about how they’d moved to the area specifically because it was an urban environment with some green still left.

“Orchard Park is critical to our community,” said Mark Young, who has lived in Covington for 27 years. “I implore you — please reconsider this ill-advised plan.”

Young explained that in 2016, the city also decided to keep the park a greenspace.

Holly Young also spoke, and said she brought a list of 221 signatures supporting saving the park from development.

She said that back in 2016, she did the same thing, making the same arguments.

“Don’t sacrifice our only public greenspace for a handful of developers,” Young said.

After a handful of speakers, the meeting went on, but not without a response from the Mayor first.

“Thank you all for your passion, for your advocacy, and for your investment in the city,” said Mayor Joseph U. Meyer. “We’ll take your remarks under consideration.”

Covington Connect Construction Phase Update

Commissioners heard an update on the Covington Connect Initiative construction and implementation phases by Assistant City Manager Bruce Applegate.

The program consists of 124 WI-Fl Access Points placed in targeted locations, to serve digitally undeserved elementary and high-school students and was funded using CARES relief monies leveraged with partnering organizations funds to maintain service for a five-year period.

This would initiate the distribution of Wi-Fi capable devices to families for non-traditional instruction use.

Applegate explained the program has, so far:

• Has provided connectivity resources for 60 percent of students identified as having limited or no access to affordable Internet resources.

• Distributed 1,000 computers to families without a primary tool for students to complete non-traditional instruction lessons.

• Completed an additional $700,000 in Fiber Build Out to areas looking for fiberoptic infrastructure.

• Provided free Wi-Fi coverage for an estimated 27 percent of properties (31 percent of businesses and 24 percent of households).

Further opportunity for growth includes:

Increased usage to 2,100 registrations
Data marketing plan
Scholarship opportunities
Additional data collection
Third-party partnerships
Digital advertising

Nyhan retirement

Commissioners approved the resignation and retirement, effective April 30, of City Clerk Margaret Nyhan, who has worked for the city for more than 20 years.

“It’s been an interesting 20 years, to say the least,” Nyhan said, laughing. “I thank you all. I will say thank you … and good night.”

But Nyhan didn’t get off that easy. Commissioners shared memories and stories, and then gave her a going-away present: the key to the city.

“Maggie hasn’t changed a bit,” Mayor Meyer said, laughing. “There’s a sweetness and wonder to that predictability. Thank you.”

TIF Funds for former IRS site

Commissioners approved recommendations by the Covington Economic Development Authority Board to use TIF Funds for projected expenses related to the redevelopment of the former IRS site in the amount of $1,641,000 for fiscal year 2021 and debt service payments of $875,000 per annum for the fiscal years 2022 through 2025.

In addition, the debt service (principal and interest) costs on the $30,000,000 IRS bonds will be approximately $875,000 per annum from fiscal years 2022 to 2025.

Digital Visions Security Technologies

Commissioners accepted a bid from Digital Visions Security Technologies to design and construct a camera system which will be installed along the Ohio River. (An RFP was sent out in October 2020).

Grant funds through the Department of Homeland Security were secured to assist with the cost of the project, which would be $179,187.

Eighteen cameras (some of them 180-degree) will be installed, starting around the mouth of the Licking River and extending to the Brent Spence Bridge. They will feed into a server, which can be live-monitored by Cincinnati’s live crime center.

CBDG Loans for 809-811 Madison Ave.

Commissioners approved $40,000 in CBDG Loans for D&M Company LLC, for an Upper Floor Residential rehab for two rental units at 809-11 Madison Ave.

The project is in the final phase — 13 units have already been completed or are substantially complete. D & M Company is receiving $20,000 per unit for two units of new rental.

Stump grinder

Commissioners also approved the purchase of a new stump grinder through Bobcat Enterprise, which is the local Bandit dealer, for a price not to exceed $39,500.

Mangus retirement

While the Police Department announced the retirement of Lt. Jon Mangus, as well as the promotions of Officer Robert Fain to sergeant, and Sgt. Jennifer Rudolph to lieutenant, commissioners honored Mangus with a key to the city.

Next meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., May 4, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings 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.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment