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Covington Commission considers spending for APRA ‘buckets,’ brick pavers replaced at MLK, Madison

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It’s time to allocate the funds.

In January, the Covington Commission created certain categories or “buckets” for their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, things like City Operations, Community Outreach and Public Health.

On Tuesday, as part of their regularly scheduled caucus meeting, Commissioners got the ball rolling on how to spend money for 11 of those 31 buckets — which represents about $6 million of the nearly $36 million in funding.

Big projects include:

• $2.5 million for parks, playgrounds and pools
• $650,000 for a farmers’ market facility (find a location, design, and build)
• $455,000 or so to expand the Covington Connect public wi-fi
• $1,250,000 for social service agencies

“So, what you all want is our orders authorizing us to approve these, so that we can take it out of this fiscal year budget, and you can initiate the processes,” Mayor Joseph U. Meyer said.

And the list will be on the regular agenda of next week’s legislative meeting.

MLK Pavers 

The city heard a proposal to hire Prus Construction to replace the brick pavers at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Martin Luther King (12th Street) with concrete.

For $217,365, Prus Construction will remove the existing brick pavers and concrete subbase and replace them with new concrete pavement. Additional work will include pavement striping, and the limits of the work are between the concrete sidewalk bands located within the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (12th Street) and Madison Avenue.

Two bids were received, Hendy at $306,960, and Prus Construction at $217,365.00.

The staff recommends the award to Prus Construction and the proposal will be on the consent agenda next week.

Parking Amnesty 

The Covington Motor Vehicle Parking Authority (MVPA) has recommended that Commissioners grant a Parking Amnesty period in June.

This means that people with outstanding tickets could have them resolved by paying the original fine and would be absolved of the doubling as a late penalty.

“Essentially, there’s 10,000 or more parking citations that are unpaid within the city that’s totaling over $300,000,” said Kyle Snyder, executive director of the Parking Authority. “Almost all of those have been doubled because they’ve not been paid for over two weeks due to COVID.”

Snyder said research has shown that offers like these do work.

“We think that will get a lot of people to come out and do that,” he said. “Research has shown in other municipalities that that 30 to 50 percent of people actually do take advantage of that.”

Commissioners placed the proposal on the consent agenda for next week.

Two Rivers

The city is requesting to issue $13 million in industrial revenue bonds to help with financing for the redevelopment of the Two Rivers building located at 535 Scott Street.

Developers want to recreate the space into a 68,550 square-foot class-A office and commercial space.

The proposal was also placed on next week’s consent agenda.

Academy of Heritage Trades 

A national consultant gave a short presentation on the labor analysis supporting the proposed Covington Academy of Heritage Trades.

Consultant Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics, said “Virtually every finding of this report supports the establishment of the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades.”

The city announced the Academy in October 2021, which by “recognizing the growing need for specialized construction skills amid the gradual extinction of what’s called ‘the lost arts’ of historic preservation” hopes to create a solution that will “also address the city’s stubborn challenge of under-employment.”

The message is simple: Learn a trade and get a job.

Among the findings, Rypkema noted:

• 94 – The number of jobs each year already supported by permit activity in Covington’s local and National Register historic districts alone since 2013.

• 9% — How much more a trades worker with training, experience, or expertise in historic preservation reported being paid, compared to those in non-historic construction trades.

• $8.5MM – Collective wages paid to workers on projects in Covington’s local and National Register historic districts per year between 2013 and 2021.

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., May 24, 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.

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