Friday, June 07, 2002

Fire fund created to help businesses

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The Covington Business Council has called a press conference this morning to announce the creation of an Odd Fellows Fire Relief Fund for businesses affected by the May 21 fire.

        About 25 businesses were affected by the fire. Many were closed for lack of power or hot water, while some merchants complained that customers couldn't reach them.

        Kristi Nader, executive director of the nonprofit Covington Business Council, declined to release any other details until the press conference.

        “Gene Schindler, chair of the CBC Foundation and (Covington officials) will discuss some things that they can do to help the businesses (affected by the fire),” Ms. Nader said.

        The press conference will be held in the parking lot across from the Odd Fellows Hall.

        Some merchants say business has been down as much as 70 percent since a fire nearly three weeks ago gutted the interior of the historic hall at Fifth Street and Madison Avenue, prompting the closure of nearby streets. Authorities ruled the fire accidental.

        Crews have been working since the fire to brace the three remaining walls and remove debris.

        On Monday, Fifth Street between Russell Street and Scott Boulevard re-opened, as did a block of Madison Avenue south of Fifth Street.

        Yet to be determined is when half of the 400 block of Madison Avenue will reopen. It remains closed as crews use a crane in the middle of the street to remove debris from the burned-out building.


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