Covington Begins Demolition of Blighted Properties

The City of Covington has begun the demolition process of some privately-owned properties. Thirty such buildings are slated to be removed in the coming weeks. In October, the city commission approved the demolition of nearly fifty properties, both orivate and city-owned. See the full list by clicking here.

From the City of Covington:

 

The City of Covington is moving forward with efforts to stimulate neighborhood revitalization.  This week, the City began demolition of approximately 30 privately owned residential properties within the City. This is a first step for the City's Community Services Division's (previously known as Code Enforcement) strategy, identified last year through the Mayor's office, to address blight and vacant properties within the city.

All of the identified properties are currently vacant and most have been for some time.  In some cases, the properties have been categorized as posing immediate safety risks.  Most of the properties on the demolition schedule have fallen into extreme disrepair and are a major source of the blight within the streets and neighborhoods in which they are located. 

The removal of blight in these neighborhoods will help to improve property values, safety and ultimately stimulate new investment in the City.  The City plans to work strategically with neighborhood and business groups to maintain this initiative on an ongoing basis. 

While the neighborhoods will see great benefit to this work, the City will reap a multitude of benefits, including saving scare tax dollars.  Through this effort, a vast reduction of administrative staff work will be realized. Some duties surrounding these blighted properties include securing all the windows and doors in the buildings to protect from criminal activity and monitoring the properties so that people do not take residence in buildings without working utilities or permission from the owner.  Staff work also includes maintenance such as cutting the grass and weeds in warmer months to keep in compliance with City Code regulations. 

Additionally, by demolishing these 30 properties as part of one contract, the City is experiencing significant cost savings.  The average cost of demolition per property is $5700 instead of an average of $10,000 when one property is demolished on its own.  This is a savings of $4300 per property.  This will allow the City to spend money in other areas; including foreclosing on these properties in the future so that something productive can be done with the sites.  

The private demolitions are just one piece of the City's overall plan to clean up the blight and improve the housing stock.  The City has plans to demolish or rehab all of the residential structures that the City currently owns, as well as find strategic uses for the vacant lots.  City commission also recently adopted a new residential rental inspection program, criminal activity ordinance, and a new staffing structure for the Community Services Division, which includes code enforcement activities, that will allow more time for "on street" code enforcement. 

Assistant City Engineer Mike Yeager, responsible for overseeing the Community Services Division says of the effort, "We think this is the first step of many towards a greatly improved quality of life for many in our community and we are glad to have finally begun working on this issue. We hope the public will be happy with this move."

Source: City of Covington

Photo: Property at 639 West Ninth Street which is among the list to be demolished/RCN file