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Loan for New Restaurant, Support for BID Part of Covington Commission Agenda

The Covington City Commission will meet Tuesday to vote on some issues. Here is a preview of the agenda, which is much shorter than some of the other ones recently:

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT PROPOSED BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

The city commission will consider a resolution in support of the Covington Business Council's efforts to establish a business improvement district (BID) Downtown. The attempt at a BID began last year but has moved slowly. It requires signatures from more than half the Downtown commercial property owners that must also represent more than half the cumulative real estate value of the commercial properties Downtown. 

The Covington Business Council's sister organization, the Urban Partnership, would be the governing body of the BID, which would be funded through an assessment on each commercial property and would promote a cleaner, safer, more vibrant central business district.

The Urban Partnership was forced to end its "Clean & Safe" program, in which a small staff of ambassadors kept the streets clean for nearly a year, at the end of 2012.

The BID hit another snag earlier this year when Rick Wessels, owner of the massive Gateway Center office building, filed suit to stop the BID from coming about.

CITY TO OFFER LOAN TO PROPOSED MAINSTRASSE VILLAGE RESTAURANT

The likely first recipient of funds from Covington's new ecnomic development program established at the previous city commission meeting, will be 621 CCB, LLC which will open a new restaurant in a pair of abandoned, run-down buildings at 621-623 Main Street.

Chris & Tess Burns are the couple behind the planned Commonwealth Bistro, which Tess Burns spoke about to The River City News in December. "The restaurant celebrates Kentucky food and heritage and has many Kentucky aspects," she said at the time.

Chris Burns is a chef while Tess works at Gateway Community & Technical College. They are both among the co-founders of the Awesome Collective of Covington. Their efforts led to the launch of a celebrated 'zine that promotes the city in an alternative, positive way.

The city's economic development program will offer a $150,000 loan to the restaurant start-up. The program, using $1 million in funds over the next five years will provide gap financing where developers cannot get loans, remediate environmental concerns, provide upper floor rehab matching grants, and offer opportunities to improve facades.

The $1 million will come from the city's special revenue funds that include the investor program and the Newport Steel fund.

According to notes from the city, Commonwealth Bistro will seat one hundred people, will feature a private dining/event space, a four season room, a chef's table, and a bar area.

OTHER ITEMS:

  • Senator Chris McDaniel who represented Covington and northern Kenton County in Frankfort for the first time during the recently concluded General Assembly session will present a recap of the thirty days to the city commission
  • The Fenians will seek a 3-year extension of its agreement with the city to construct an Irish memorial in Devou Park
  • City employees will be recognized for completing a customer service program
  • 611 Oliver Street will be purchased by the city in the amount of $17,000 as part of the city's efforts to redevelop the area that housed the Covington Mobile Home Park, which the city also just purchased recently after years of legal battles. It is expected to become green space.
  • Railway Museum in West Latonia will be closer to moving forward with planned improvements after the city recommends to the Kenton County Planning Commission that that "industrial park" and "industrial limited" zoning districts should be allowed to feature "cultural exhibits".
  • Meinken Field will be leased to Covington Independent Public Schools. The city will still own the field and pay for the utilities but CIPS and Holy Cross High School will handle the maintenance and staffing. Holy Cross sub-leases the field from CIPS. Holmes and Holy Cross baseball teams use it as their home field. 
  • New tablet computers are coming for the Covington Police Department thanks to a the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, worth roughly $73,000. Illinois-based CDW-G was the only company to submit a bid to supply the tablets which the city notes will allow the department a user-friendly interface with the recently upgraded CAD/RMS system and will augment the department's connection with the city's nineteen unique neighborhoods.
  • Pay raises for Ryan Malone and Justin Meyer in the Police Department and Gary Rucker of the Fire Department
  • Omar Gray will be appointed the code enforcement board for three years, filling an unexpired term

The most comprehensive coverage of Covington City Hall will be found right here at The River City News. Follow The River City News on Facebook and Twitter. Have a news tip or feedback? Email RCN!

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: 621/623 Main Street, future location of Commonwealth Bistro/RCN

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