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Change in Downtown Covington as City Promotional Group Becomes Independent

Renaissance Covington is leaving City Hall and moving a few doors down to its own space as it becomes an independent organization.

At last week's Covington City Commission meeting, the change was approved. The city agreed to a 5-year contract to support the transition to independence, to the tune of $127,250. 

The Renaissance Covington board of directors and executive director Katie Meyer have been working towards creating a sustainable model for the nonprofit. It will now operate at 2 West Pike Street where Covington Arts previously displayed works after it moved from the former Artisan Enterprise Center to make way for Braxton Brewery. Renaissance will also oversee downtown arts initiatives.

Meyer says the new space will serve as a resource for potential and existing residents, business owners, and investors, with information on upcoming events and programs, available properties, business resources, and partner organizations.

"Like downtown Covington, Renaissance is really moving forward. We’re partnering with great organizations and are building the capabilities to do even more exciting projects and events in the future,” said board president Steven Bryant, who co-owns B-books and Kiki Magazine with his wife Jaime at 116 W. Pike Street.  

The goal of the change is to increase the organization's visibility and to develop stronger partnerships and investment in Covington's revitalization efforts and the city's public art initiatives.

“We have a strong organizational structure and strategic focus. I'm excited to see what we can accomplish," Meyer said.

Renaissance Covington is currently working on the Citizen's Holiday Pop-Up, the Roebling Point Night Bazaar, Curb'd, and the development of a website.

The Citizens Holiday Pop-Up is the name of this year's holiday retail pop-up shop initiative which will take place at 304 Court Street, also known as the Citizens Telephone Building. This is the fourth year that Renaissance Covington has facilitated a program to locate pop-up retailers in a vacant or underutilized property during the holiday shopping season. Several of the businesses that have participated transitioned to permanent storefronts including Village Gifts, Grainwell/Olivia Lane, Madison Gallery, The River City News, and District 78.

All of the previous buildings that hosted the pop-ups shops are in the process of being redeveloped, including the Mutual Building.

New this year is the Roebling Point Night Bazaarplanned for December 4 and 5, on Park Avenue. Focused on experience and creativity, the Night Bazaar will offer a unique opportunity to shop for the local and handmade as well as the gift of an intangible experience. Vendors from across the region will be onsite to sell tours, classes, spa and wellness, travel, and more.

Curb'd is an initiative to create quasi-temporary installations in parking spots, also known as parklets. This project will link businesses, designers, and builders to compete in a design competition. Five parklets will be installed in May and will stay up through October. The project is supported by the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile/US Bank Foundation.  

Board Vice President Jim Guthrie, an architect at Hub + Weber said, "Covington's creative energy is real. By joining the Arts and Main Street initiatives, we can continue to develop and expand our placemaking and public art efforts as strategies for urban revitalization."

Other projects led by Renaissance Covington in recent years include the development of Madlot (a pop-up performance venue in a parking lot at Seventh & Washington Streets), Art Off Pike, and most recently, Interpose, the zen-inspired rock garden under the railway overpass at Pike & Russell Streets.

-Staff report

Photo: 2 West Pike Street where Renaissance Covington will locate (RCN)