Lights Are Up Downtown as Covington Pops

Lights stretching across a Downtown Covington street have returned for the first time in a generation as Mayor Chuck Scheper flipped the switch Friday evening for Light Up Pike. The block of Short Pike between Madison Avenue and Washington Street is now adorned with white lights zig-zagging in front of the shops. They are a spark of life where the ubiquitous empty storefronts outnumber the active urban shopkeepers. For now. The event is part of an effort to bring back not only shoppers to Downtown Covington bu talso budding entrepreneurs. Covington's Christmas gifts came early this year in the form of announcements of a $25 million boutique hotel development and the $80 million expansion of Gateway Technical & Community College's urban campus. Bargain hunters this holiday season may just find a storefront or a building that won't fit in a stocking but could still fit in their budgets. For now.

Two pop-up shops also opened their doors Friday evening, one a vintage clothing store that shared a space with flow - a shop for men on Scott Boulevard and the other a News-Cafe theme sponsored by Roebling Point Bookstore and The River City News on Pike Street. While these shops will only last during the holiday weekends, they serve as an attempt to inspire others to take advantage of the real estate opportunities in what may be an urban core on the verge of a significant rebound.

Covington Clay, the Passionate Arts Center, and Three Kings bar in addition to the Artisan Enterprise Center opened for special hours Friday as well.

On the other side of Downtown at Roebling Point, the once drab and overgrown courtyard at the former Barton's on Park Place has been transformed into "Kentucky's North Pole". Santa Claus made his first appearance of the night at Barton's which is now illuminated by tons of lights and other decorations. Santa then made his way over to Pike Street via convertible to help Light Up Pike.

Mainstrasse Village has also upped their Christmas decorations game, hiring an outside firm to take care of it this year. A lit-up winter wonderland awaits folks looking for a nice long walk through Covington's business districts. Go check them out! Want to check out what's going on the rest of the weekend? Click Here

Written by Michael Monks, Editor & Publisher of The River City News

PHOTO: Lights over Pike Street