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Covington Neighborhoods Eligible for $60,000 in City Grants

Got an idea to make your neighborhood a better place to live?

Covington is offering the opportunity to make your idea a reality through a neighborhood grant Program.

The Covington Commission recently set aside $60,000 and tasked the neighborhood services department to create guidelines for the grant application process. Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith presented those guidelines to the commission at the March 19 caucus meeting.

“The goal is to provide flexible funding to neighborhoods to help improve the appearance of the community or enhance socializing,” Smith said.

Smith proposed that grants be given twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall at two levels. A neighborhood could receive $250 to $1,500 for a small project or $1,501 to $5,000 for a large project. Neighborhoods would be restricted to receiving two small grants a year and one large grant a year.

The grant, Smith said, is strictly for neighborhoods and cannot be applied for by a single individual, business, social service agencies, schools, public agencies, or fraternal or religious organizations. However, such entities can partner with a neighborhood to apply.

The project must be neighborhood-focused, Smith said. It must improve the quality of life in that participial area of Covington, have sustainable impact and be executed in a reasonable time.

An introductory meeting will be held 5:30-6:30 p.m. April 22, allowing for questions and applications to be made. Applications are due May 13. City staff will review, rank, and recommend projects for the commission’s approval. Smith said that city staff will work with the neighborhoods to help bring the project to fruition.

TIF clarifications

Covington is preparing to amend its Tax Increment Finance (TIF) ordinance, according to Economic Director Tom West.

“The purpose is to clarify the commission’s preference that TIF funds be used throughout the district for enhancements of public infrastructure,” West said.

The amendment also better defines the actual roles of the parties involved in the TIF, including, the Covington Economic Authority, the city, Kenton County, Planning and Development Services of Kenton County.

West said that the amendment does not change boundaries of the districts.

“We did include a draft development plan,” West said. “We deleted projects that are no longer being contemplated and updated some projects like the IRS site, which has a master plan underway.”

The amendment also includes a public facing document which narrows down the ordinance to six pages that clearly communicate the expectations and priorities to potential developers.  

“Part of our department’s philosophy is to have guidelines for expectations,” West said. “We think it is a best practice to help the community, developers and development partners.”

Commission agreed to hold a first reading of the proposed amendment at the legislative meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 26.

If approved by the Economic Development Authority, county and PDS, the city will hold a public hearing after the April 2 caucus meeting to gather resident input.

Grant for Barb Cook Park

The commission agreed to add a grant application request from Barb Cook Park on the consent agenda at the legislative meeting.

The grant from the KaBoom Foundation would be used for new playground equipment, according to Covington’s grant writer Meganne Robinson. KaBoom is a national non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all children get a childhood filled with balanced and active play.

The grant would be for about $80,000 and would require the city to match just $8,500. Implementation of the new playground equipment would be September 2019. The current equipment would be removed and reused at another city park, Robinson said.

Named after the founder of Covington's Neighborhood Watch, according to a 2012 obituary, this neighborhood park, located at 985 Madison Ave. in Latonia, offers a playground and basketball courts.

Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN contributor

Photo provided