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Guest Editorial: Hey, CityBeat, You Obviously Don't Know Anything About Covington

A recent column written by Kathy Y. Wilson and published in the Cincinnati alternative newspaper, CityBeat, caused a furor in Covington. For background, check out The River City News's response: Wow. CityBeat Columnist's Bizarre Rant About Rape & Covington is... Ugh. Just, Ugh.

The following letter is written by Dan Petronio of the Center for Great Neighborhoods, one of the organizations working hard to bring more positive developments to Covington.

Dear Ms. Wilson,

Wow!  You obviously don't know anything about Covington, and apparently don't want to know anything because it might spoil the amazing leap of logic you made in "They Raped That City". You blamed an entire community for a despicable act committed by 4 men that could easily live in any community in our region. We are all outraged by this act. You obviously have no idea what Covington residents are concerned about. Dozens of residents meet on any given evening in civic groups that are working to make Covington the best it can be. I'm talking about average folk from all walks of life. That's the beauty of what has been building in Covington for the past 15 years. We have 19 separate neighborhoods and they all have resident-led associations (volunteers, I might add) who work tirelessly to address safety, blight, beautification, to celebrate our history and culture and to help build strong connections between residents. Again, I'm not talking about a bunch of Pollyannas that ignore the bad and only focus on the fun, the bars and the shiny new developments. These folks face the tough problems, but they don't ignore all the good that exists in their neighborhood and city. In fact, that's what they build on - the assets.

We have many other folks who are working together in a variety of ways and on a myriad of issues to make Covington great. The Covington Neighborhood Collaborative, Renaissance Covington, Make Goebel Great, Keep Covington Beautiful, Friends of Covington, the Covington Business Council, Mainstrasse Village Association, Friends of Linden Grove, Progress with Preservation, the Awesome Collective....and so many more groups of Covington residents and business owners are also working tirelessly in Covington. You have fallen prey to the same affliction that affects many people who haven't spent any time in Covington - you judge the community based on the most sensational, and negative, headlines in the news. How you missed all the good news about Covington astounds me.

I moved to Covington from Cincinnati in 1977. I know firsthand how dramatically the city has changed. Please, get out from behind whatever desk you are sitting at and visit Covington. Don't just visit Mainstrasse or Roebling Point (although I highly recommend both areas!), but take a walk in our amazing neighborhoods. Have you ever heard of Austinburg, Levassor Park, Latonia, Westside, Botany Hills, Helentown, Historic Licking Riverside or Eastside? They are just a few of our amazing neighborhoods. You may find that the people here are not that different from the folks who live in Oakley, Price Hill, Madisonville, OTR, or Bond Hill.

Will you see some run-down homes? Yes indeed. We have our share of blight and vacancies. Ask us what we're doing about it. You might be surprised. Do bad things happen in these good neighborhoods? Do some bad people live here? Yes -same goes for any Cincy or Newport neighborhood. Will you see some faces different from your own? Yes, and that's not a bad thing, is it? Take a chance and talk to some people. Ask them why they live here or why they moved here in the first place. I would be happy to take you on a tour and introduce you to some people. Please, take a chance and challenge your perceptions. By now, you have heard from plenty of folks in Covington that have been insulted by your article. Hopefully you will take this opportunity to expand your horizons...or at least do some fact checking before you write such a harshly critical article about another community.

Dan Petronio
Covington, Kentucky