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Developments Move Forward in Ludlow

Developments are moving forward in Ludlow during the coronavirus pandemic, though one likely won't look as hoped for originally.

The Ludlow Yards site, which was the point of contention among city leadership in 2018 when one proposed project that would have placed apartments on the Elm Street lot was scrapped, is now poised to be developed as nineteen townhouses.

The city contracted with Urban Community Developers, a Covington-based nonprofit development firm that is currently constructing homes in Mainstrasse Village.

"They are in the process of all the due diligence at this time and unfortunately the corona pandemic has slowed the progress but everything is still moving forward," said interim city administrator and police chief Scott Smith.

Meanwhile, the long-vacant building that was once home to Ernie's, a bar on Elm Street, looks to have had another proposed redevelopment fall apart. 

A year ago, the building faced demolition before a Covington-based developer stepped up with a plan to salvage the damaged property. Months later, though, it was announced that the proposed development could not land proper financing.

Challis Hodge, owner of Taste on Elm, had planned to take over a sprucing up of the site, but Smith said that the price tag was too high to maintain the existing structure. So, now the building faces demolition again.

"He is now looking at a complete tear down and building something back in it’s place," Smith said. "The city is becoming growingly more concerned with the safety of the building and if no one is willing to assume responsibility of demolition and a complete new building the city will be forced to demolish the building. The city wants to avoid tearing it down because at this time the city does not have the funds to erect anything in it’s place and it will be a bare lot."

Additionally, Smith's desire to land developers for riverfront acreage on the west side of town is ongoing, though slowly. Nothing new was announced.

"The truth is, we need to find a tax base. We need to find something other than property tax, and we need development on that west side that will help fund us in the future," Smith said during last week's city council meeting. "We will be good for the next three, five, six years, but if more tax base doesn't come in, you're going to be back in the same trouble you were in a few years ago."

The city in recent years overcame significant financial challenges.

"Even my own gym is a mom-and-pop type of business," Smith said of the center that he owns and operates in the city. "We need businesses that increase gross receipts, payroll, and those sorts of things."

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher