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With First Westside Development Approved, Covington Moves on to Other Properties

After asking for an additional week to review the situation, following significant pushback from some neighbors, the Covington city commission last week gave unanimous approval to the Center for Great Neighborhoods and Orleans Development to proceed with its plans to construct new residential buildings in part of the Westside neighborhood.

Some neighbors argued passionately against the plan particularly because of their love for Orchard Park, a long vacant piece of city-owned property that in recent years has been made home to an urban farm community, as well as some popular chickens.

The arguments made by residents last week were the same as were made the previous week, when the city commission ultimately agreed to delay action so that community feedback could be more deeply considered.

But when it came time to vote, commissioners and the mayor were unanimous in supporting the Center and Orleans (though Commissioner Michelle Williams was absent).

The city agreed to sale the parcels of land for $150,000 so that the project could move forward. The plan is to construct ten rowhouses and one custom home, on the 1000 block of Jackson St., the 1100 block of Locust St., and the 300 block of Orchard St.

When the city commission meets again this week, another part of this area will be presented for development.

In March, when the original requests for proposals was sent out, five properties were presented separately. They are all existing two-story buildings ranging from 800 to 2,000 square feet on Orchard, Berry, and Locust streets.

The city received a total of sixteen proposals.

On Tuesday night during the commission's caucus meeting, where legislation is discussed usually a week before it's voted on, Neighborhood Services Director Ken Smith, who is also currently interim city manager, will present a plan from an entity called the Neighborhood Development Collective.

A selection committee of city staff ranked the proposals and unanimously decided that the Neighborhood Development Collective's plans for the five buildings would be best.

The sale price is listed on a city document as $99,500.

The River City News will have the meeting covered and will share the details of the presentation afterwards, if anything of interest is noted.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher