Covington moving forward with city makeover

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Associated Press

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Covington is ramping up a five-year, $72 million plan to invest in infrastructure, economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

Officials in the northern Kentucky city say the goal is to jump-start residential and business growth, The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/1bfZJLq ) reported. It's described as a top-to-bottom approach, from replacing deteriorated sidewalks to revitalizing the riverfront.

Officials say when it's finished, Covington could look and feel like a new city.

"It's more than just a specific set of projects over the next five years," City Manager Larry Klein told Covington business leaders on Thursday. "It's really about an outlook. We want to create a sea change about how the city looks at its future."

Since July, about $10 million has already been invested in sidewalk improvements.

Streetscape improvements are coming as well.

Perhaps the biggest sign of progress is the demolition of hundreds of vacant, abandoned residential structures.

The blight-fighting project began earlier this year, and 50 structures have been torn down so far. Another 250 structures are slated for demolition over the next five years, putting a big dent in the city's stock of more than 800 abandoned properties.

City officials are working with neighborhood groups and property owners to decide what to do with the newly available lots.

The riverfront will get some new life, with a multipurpose path planned along the Ohio River as part of the broader Riverfront Commons project.

"We've talked about riverfront development for years and years," said Larisa Sims, assistant city manager for development. "The fact is, now we are actually going to do it."

Federal and state grants will pay for part of some of the five-year plan. But most of the money will come from city coffers, without raising taxes.

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Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com

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