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City Attempted to Help Recently Closed Behle Street With $35,000 Loan

The closure of Behle Street, a once popular, thriving restaurant on RiverCenter Boulevard on Covington's riverfront, upset leaders at City Hall.

The 19-year old restaurant closed suddenly with a note posted to its doors to the west of the Embassy Suites Hotel that blamed a lack of development in Covington and the departure of hundreds of jobs in 2011 when Omnicare and The Nielsen Company moved out of nearby buildings and to Cincinnati.

"It is never easy when a business closes and it is an unfortunate situation," said Naashom Marx, business development manager at the City of Covington.

In January, 2011, the City of Covington approved a $35,000 small business loan from its federal community development block grant (CDBG) funds to be paid back at 3% interest over ten years. Additionally, "Our business assistance specialist has tried many times to meet with the business since earlier this year but has proved unsuccessful, so we really can't comment on the reasons why they closed any further," Marx said.

City Communication Manager Natalie Bowers said that Behle Street would still be responsible for paying back the loan. "It would be treated like any other loan," Bowers said.

"The impact of Behle Street closing has really been felt throughout the city," Bowers added. "They are a legacy business and they've been with us for a long time. We're always sad to see a business go. We wish them the best of luck. Nobody wants a business to close."

Behle Street often benefited from its proximity to two large hotels, the Embassy Suites and the Marriott at RiverCenter. "Generally speaking, for the urban core and the riverfront, the climate has changed over the last twenty years," Marx said. "Visitors aren't just popping out of their hotels to take a walk to the nearest restaurant. They check the internet, look for reviews and then decide. This leaves businesses with high dependency on just pedestrian traffic exposed to risk."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Behle Street Cafe/RCN file