Thursday, August 23, 2001

Covington hopes to widen downtown historic district




By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — For the third time in a decade, the city wants to expand its downtown commercial National Register historic district.

        Covington officials have proposed extending the district's boundaries to include about 10 buildings overlooked in previous expansions, said Kate Carothers, Covington's historic preservation and community development specialist.

[photo] The circa-1870 Covington Brewery building could join Covington's historic district.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        Among them: the last remaining building of the Covington Brewery (circa 1870) at 621 and 625 Scott Blvd., and the Wadsworth Electric Manufacturing building at 20 W. 11th St., now occupied by Packaging Unlimited.

        The extended district also would include a doctors' building and two 19th-century rowhouses at Eighth Street and Scott Boulevard, and some commercial buildings in the 1000 block of Madison Avenue.

        Tonight, the public can offer opinions or ask questions about the proposed expansion at a hearing in City Commission chambers.

        If property owners are receptive, the proposal will go through four other reviews at the city, state and national levels, with possible approval by early next year, Ms. Carothers said.

IF YOU GO
   • What: Hearing for public comment on Covington's proposed expansion of its downtown commercial historic district.
    • When: 7 p.m. today.
    • Where: City Commission chambers, 638 Madison Ave.
    • In writing: Written comments also can be mailed to Kate Carothers, Covington's historic preservation and community development specialist, at the Covington City Building, 638 Madison Ave., Covington 41011.
        “For development purposes, I think (a historic district) brings a measure of publicity and recognition to a city,” Ms. Carothers said. “If you have a large district, it could attract tourists.”

        L. Martin Perry, the National Register coordinator with the Kentucky Heritage Council, said Covington's downtown commercial National Register historic district is one of 150 such districts statewide.

        “This is the third time Covington's asked to enlarge the boundary,” Mr. Perry said. “That's the most we've ever revisited and expanded a listed district.”

        The biggest advantage for a developer of being included in a historic district is a 20 percent tax credit for refurbishing an income-producing property.

        Covington has been among the leaders in Kentucky cities to use that incentive, Mr. Perry said.

        The designation also includes a measure of protection for historic buildings, Ms. Carothers said.

        Developers who want to tear down a historic building have to go through a hearing process if they want to use federal money for the project.
       



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