Video: Building a better Covington, but first, coffee

On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 21, Covington residents, leaders, business owners, artists and advocates met at the Center for Great Neighborhoods' Hellmann Creative Center to cap off Soapbox's On the Ground series and share ideas for future success.

The event offered a chance for guests from Covington's 19 neighborhoods and beyond to mingle over pastries from Lil's Bagels and Moonrise Doughnuts, as well as hot beverages provided by Covington Coffee Company

Representatives from The Center facilitated the program and invited attendees to introduce one another as part of an ice-breaker exercise, followed by the premiere screening of a Soapbox-produced short film called "Covington On the Rise." (Click the YouTube link at the top of this story to watch the film in its entirety. You can also click here to read all 12 On the Ground stories, which focus on a range of topics, including education, health and wellness, Covington's small business climate, citywide support programs, new and forthcoming development and more.)

Audiences learned that while Covington’s overall outlook is brighter than ever, some challenging questions still remain. The discussion that followed the screening served to address some of those questions and source ideas from the gathered crowd.

Covingtonians applaud certain successes, such as forthcoming housing developments and recent efforts to mitigate citywide parking deficiencies, but several attendees identified zoning and property lien challenges and a general lack of inclusivity as remaining obstacles to home and business ownership in Covington.

As the film explores, Covington has made strides in recent years to empower its residents as leaders by awarding "nano grants" to fund community-building and beautification efforts, as well as rent subsidy and façade improvement to encourage entrepreneurial activity and homeownership.

Lifelong Covington resident and journalist Kareem Simpson was both featured in the film and in attendance for the Oct. 21 event. He believes Covington's current renaissance will continue and that it needs to be managed by residents and leaders alike in order to prove successful. 

The event wrapped with attendees sharing their personal plans to make Covington a better place, with responses that included representing Covington at the national Meeting of the Minds conference later this month, picking up trash on daily walks, patronizing Covington businesses, moving Covington Coffee to a larger facility and attending neighborhood events more regularly. One guest was so inspired by the conversation that she pledged to explore the possibility of relocating to Covington permanently.

The Northern Kentucky Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation is proud to underwrite Soapbox’s On the Ground: Covington series. The Northern Kentucky Fund believes that highlighting the successes and challenges in our community fosters effective dialog and action, creating communities where everyone can thrive. Other On the Ground partners include The Center for Great Neighborhoods, which is working collaboratively toward community transformation with series sponsor Place Matters partners LISC and United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Data and analysis is provided by The Economics Center.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Hannah Purnell.

Hannah Purnell is a lifelong Northern Kentuckian who writes extensively about regional issues related to arts and culture, politics and economic development.