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Yes, Covington, There Will Be Christmas Decorations this Year

Last year, Christmastime in Covington was less than festive.

The historic central business district along Madison Avenue was devoid of its usual city=owned holiday decorations, though there were some wreaths added to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd./12th Street. 

At the time, City Manager David Johnston said the city's financial challenges were a problem, and that some decorations had been destroyed by weather or vandals over the years, and the city simply couldn't afford to replace them at the time.

A week before Christmas, The River City News published an article about the lack of holly and jolly around town, and this week, Johnston referenced that story has something that inspired action among local residents.

An informal citizen-led committee was formed, Johnston said, describing the members as "passionate" about the prospects for a little more holiday cheer in the city.

The city put $15,000 in its budget for Christmas decorations which will be used to spruce up two of the gateways into Covington in time for the holidays. 12th Street's lamp posts will have wreaths, like last year, but this season they will be lit up at night thanks to solar power. The thirty-two wreaths were a gift to the city. "We invested to make the gateway on MLK look nice and festive," Johnston said. The solar-powered batteries will operate on timers, he said.

Closer to the Ohio River, the city will also light up the entrance to Covington at the Roebling Suspension Bridge, near the Police Memorial.

"We bought lights and we will be purchasing a large tree to have at the entrance of the Roebling Bridge, and we'll be lighting up all the bushes and trees," Johnston said. One benefit of the new lights that will be placed near the Roebling Bridge, Johnston said, is they change colors, so they can be used year-round.

"This is actually driven by that news article that appeared last year, but at the same time, it got the attention of citizens that wanted Covington to look like a regular city during the holiday season."

Madison Avenue and other parts of town, however, will still have to wait. Part of the problem cited last year by Johnston is the number of gateways into Covington, as well as its multiple commercial districts. The city can't afford to take it all on at once.

"Next year, we're decorating Madison," he said. A community-wide fundraising effort is expected, he said.

City Commissioner Tim Downing suggested that the city partner with Kenton County, which just relocated the government to the renovated Bavarian Brewery building at MLK. "I'm sure they want to make sure that entrance is as festive as possible," Downing said. "Perhaps they would be willing to donate to our cause in making sure MLK is as festive as possible."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher