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Covington Seeks Hosts and Guests for IRS Dinner Table Discussions

The City of Covington is looking for hosts and guests for what are being called civic dinners, to discuss the future of the 23-acre IRS site.
The IRS will close its Covington operations later this year. The city is working to gain control of the site and ultimately redevelop it.
In a news release, the city said about a dozen and a half such dinners have been scheduled or are in the works, but the consulting firm hired by the city to develop a conceptual master plan said that many other people have expressed interest.
The goal is to transform that interest into dinner conversations that help the city get a sense of what the public thinks, said Jenn Graham, co-founder and CEO of Civic Dinners, which is working with master consultant Cooper Carry on the IRS project.
"These dinners are actually really fun, and super easy," Graham said. "You can get fancy, or you can do something as simple as ordering pizza, having people bring potluck dishes, or meeting at your favorite local restaurant."
To learn about the dinners or to sign up as a host, click HERE. You can also use the link to find a hosted dinner to attend.
The dinners are designed for six to ten guests. Hosts can invite their own guests or let people sign up to attend. A Host Guide spells out the three questions that hosts should use to guide the conversation, and questionnaires are used to gather input.
The concept works because conversation around dinner and drinks is more productive and inviting than it would be in a 200-seat assembly hall or a Facebook comment section, Graham said. "We've done this in hundreds of cities, and invariably people tell us what a rewarding experience it was," she said.
The IRS has long been one of Covington's biggest employers. Its sprawling, one-story processing facility takes up about 17 acres between Fourth and Third streets, with parking on an additional 6 acres. The complex is controlled by the federal General Services Administration, but Cooper Carry is helping Covington develop a strategy to gain control of the site.
-Staff report