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Four River City Projects Awarded Funds from Duke Energy Foundation

A rooftop restaurant in downtown Covington, an old grain factory in Newport's transformation to a restaurant, an historic Dayton building, and the old St. Elizabeth Hospital renovation are all recipients of grant funding from the Duke Energy Foundation.

The regional utility announced the recipients of its 2021 Urban Revitalization grants in Ohio and Kentucky.

$110,000 was awarded to those four Northern Kentucky projects in the eleventh year of the grant program.

Since launching the program in 2011, Duke Energy has awarded more than $2.9 million to 91 grantees across Greater Cincinnati.

“Our urban corridors and main streets are critical to the vitality of our local communities, but they have been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” said Amy Spiller, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “Through our Urban Revitalization grants, we are able to help be a part of the long-term solutions our neighborhoods need to spur development and succeed.”

The grants typically provide gap funding and are catalysts for further economic development in the urban core.

“We are very appreciative of our partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation which so strongly supports our investments in Northern Kentucky’s River Cities,” said Jeanne Schroer, president/CEO of the Catalytic Fund in Covington, which assists developers with financing projects. “Duke Energy consistently gives back to the communities they serve and their support is critical given the increased need over the past 18 months. With Duke’s support, we can continue to convert vacant and blighted buildings into productive assets, bring jobs to our region, and continue to help our local economies recover.”

The Catalytic Fund was a partner in three of the Northern Kentucky grants.

The Republic Bank building at 6th Street and Madison Avenue in downtown Covington is currently being renovated. A $35,000 grant from Duke will help to create a rooftop restaurant to be called Char.

The Raymee Building at 6th Avenue and Berry Street is set to be redeveloped and received $40,000 from Duke in the effort to make it a mixed-use property.

In Newport, a forthcoming restaurant called the Granary received $35,000 towards its efforts to engineer and design a former grain and storage facility at 532 West Tenth Street in the restaurant and event space.

Additionally, the Center for Great Neighborhoods received $10,000 for its St. Elizabeth Studios project at the former hospital located at 20th Street and Eastern Avenue in Covington. The funds are to help design the build-out of the old hospital's fifth floor into artist studios that could also house creative businesses.

Read The River City News's previous coverage of that effort here.

-Staff report