Wednesday, July 11, 2001

All in one

Social services mall will provide array of services at same spot

By Stephenie Steitzer
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — A “one-stop” social services shop will soon be ready to provide an array of counseling and therapy services to Northern Kentuckians.

        Renovations for a social services mall at the former YMCA building, 624 Madison Ave., has begun — months after city officials expressed concern about too many agencies in Covington.

    At least eight social service agencies have signed leases for space in the social-services mall or are in negotiations:
   • Covington Schools CARE program — An education center for at-risk students in the district's Fourth District School.
   • North Key — A chemical dependency treatment and prevention center moving from Garrard Street.
   • Family Services of Northern Kentucky — A substance abuse center providing counseling and therapy for individuals, families and groups. It will also retain another Madison Avenue location.
   • Department of Juvenile Justice's Day Treatment Program — A counseling, mentoring and recreation center for youths that is moving from Newport.
   • Family Nurturing Center — A parent-education facility that also will retain a Florence location.
   • Catholic Social Services — A homeownership and credit counseling center, which also will retain a Church Street location.
   • Northern Kentucky Health Department — a health screening and referral agency that also will retain a Scott Street location.
   • Cancer Family Care Inc. — A counseling center for cancer patients and their families, which is moving from a Madison Avenue location.
        “Our social services serve all of Northern Kentucky,” City Commissioner Alex Edmondson said. “What I'm looking to do is have other cities shoulder the burden.”

        Forward Quest, the community vision group that is coordinating the project, foresees the mall as providing centralized and coordinated services.

        Project coordinator Lou Settle said at least eight agencies will be located in the mall, with room to spare for a few other social services.

        “This would be good for those clients who need these services to be able to provide them with a one-stop shop,” she said.

        Earlier this year, Mr. Edmondson came under fire for his plans to relocate social service agencies on Pike Street to make room for business renovation, saying he didn't want to see Covington become “the social services capital of the world.”

        Mr. Edmondson voted to begin eminent domain procedures to obtain a parking lot on Washington Street, which Corporex Cos. chairman and CEO Bill Butler hoped to use as a site to build a homeless center.

        Mr. Edmondson said he doesn't know much about the planned mall, but added that if it is a permitted use for the area, the project would be fine with him.

        “I don't want to meddle with personal enterprise,” he said.

        Building owner David Herriman said work started last week on the $1.5 million to $2 million project.


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