Redevelopment plans continue to evolve for Jacob Price site in Covington

For years the Jacob Price housing site (map) in Covington has been a hot bed for discussion amongst residents, community leaders, urban planners and even the casual observer.  The discussion is similar to one previously had in Cincinnati's West End where consolidated housing projects were replaced by a mixture of market rate and affordable housing units in addition to some retail - all of which was done in a smaller more human scale than the previous Corbusier style housing that previously existed.

In Covington's Jacob Price housing projects there are no towers in the sky, but the block style approach is easily identifiable in the 70-year-old development.  As a result, community members are looking to take back the community with a better urban design and plan that encompasses a variety of uses, income levels and architectural styles.

In 2006, the City of Covington began demolishing the Jacob Price housing project piece-by-piece leaving only about two-thirds of the original number of housing units behind.  City officials expect another two years are needed to completely demolish the site with redevelopment plans following.

Recent plans by the Housing Authority of Covington include income mixing, more businesses, and more owner-occupied homes in the heart of Covington - something that residents feel will help reduce crime and raise property values in the nearby area.

Like the City West development in Cincinnati's West End neighborhood, Covington will apply for a Hope VI grant this November.  The $20 million grant would help spur the development of 117 new or newly renovated rental units on the Jacob Price housing site as well as the renovation of some surrounding properties.

Of the rental units, approximately 30 percent will be market rate, 30 percent preserved for tenants making under 60 percent of the average median income for the region, and the remaining 40 percent would be developed as public housing units - some of which would include senior living units.

In 2005, the Jacobs Price housing site was studied by University of Cincinnati planning students who proposed a variety of redevelopment strategies for the site with many focusing around the development of new park space for city residents in addition to new housing options.

The current plan is also expected to include more greenspace and could get started as early as 2011 if Covington secures the necessary grant funds.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
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