Urban Partnership creates business improvement district in Covington

Covington gets a Business Improvement District (BID) thanks to a collaborative private/public partnership that includes the city of Covington, philanthropic foundations, and the Urban Partnership of Covington.  The District is bordered by Martin Luther King Drive (12th Street) and the Ohio River and the Licking River and Interstate 75.

The Urban Partnership plans to raise money over the next year to provide free clean and safe services for the community. These services include power washing sidewalks, removing graffiti, picking up litter, and eventually providing additional services such as marketing/communications and stakeholder services.

"We really think that cleaning up the urban core and residential units will spur investment and business to Covington," said Pat Frew, the Executive Director of Urban Partnership of Covington. "A priority for us is to increase middle income market rate housing because we have very high income and also very low income housing in the area. If you bring a new business to the community, you must have middle income range housing in order for the business to sustain growth, and that's where we're really lacking."

Covington decided it was time to revamp the city area after seeing success in neighboring cities like Cincinnati and Louisville. Both Downtown Cincinnati Inc. and the Louisville Downtown Management District have proven successful by luring residents, shoppers, and diners back downtown - both cities have been helpful and supportive by sharing information with Covington.

Paul Sartori, Partner with Legacy Financial Advisors and Steve Brunson, Vice President/Director of Business Development for Republic Bank have both agreed to co-chair the Urban Partnership of Covington in order to raise $600,000 within the next two years.

"We have a lot of challenges to face," Frew explained. "It's like when you need to go on a diet, you didn't get fat over night. The city took years of neglect to get in its current condition. It's not going to be reversed overnight and we're going to have to all pull together to make this work. That's why partnership is important because we are looking for ways we can work together to make it a better place to live."

The Urban Partnership also received a $10,000 gift from Duke Energy to assist in funding operations for the recently launched Business Improvement District. Frew explained that they have already raised over $100,000 in funds from various corporations and local contributors and have already gained tremendous support from Mayor Denny Bowman, Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati, the Catalytic Development Funding Corporation of NKy, and Alex Blust, General Manager of Holiday Inn Riverfront.

Writer: Lisa Ensminger
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