A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington shares more pictures of inside the IRS facility — after they trigger ‘a thousand memories’

A single photograph shared by Covington City Hall this week from inside the soon-to-be-demolished IRS processing center triggered memories for Covingtonians who used to work at the massive facility:

• “I met a lot of good people there. Good times.”

• “Brings back a thousand memories.”

• “I enjoyed my time there. Especially the people.”

• “Even with all the little cubbies out, it is still recognizable. I walked up and down many of those ramps for many years, especially the ones to Data Conversion.”

At its heyday the City’s largest employer, with some 4,000 full-time and seasonal employees, the sprawling one-story center processed federal tax returns for 52 years.

There’s no telling how many thousands if not tens of thousands of Covington residents labored over those five decades within its doors entering data at a desk, pushing heavily laden carts down its halls, or fulfilling one of dozens of support roles, including security, IT, HVAC, phones, maintenance, etc.

A victim of the trend toward online tax processing, the facility shut down last fall and the City took possession this week, having purchased the building and 23-acre site from the federal General Services Administration.
Now, Covington is sharing photos – way too many photos, but why not? – from both inside the facility and from its grounds.

The album is on the City’s Facebook page, in a post seen HERE. If you worked at the center, share your memories in the comments section of the Facebook post for all to see.

One of the vast “caverns” where all the data was entered by hundreds and hundreds of workers

(And the City confesses too a fascination with the “engine rooms” of the massive complex, where sat the boiler, the AC, the phone networks, the communications cables, etc. – everything needed to make the facility “run.” Most of this equipment was outside not only the public’s eye but we imagine the eyes of most of the data employees.)

The bulk of the property sits just north of Fourth Street between Madison Avenue to the east and Johnson Street to the west, with an adjacent 6-acre parking lot west of Johnson reaching the approach to the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge.

The data processing center opened its doors on May 15, 1967, after two years of construction and a backstory filled with intrigue and drama that can be read HERE.

The internal courtyard, where many a lunch was consumed

The City is awaiting results of an environmental assessment and geotechnical survey of the site and will soon begin the process of hiring a company to demolish the building.

After the demolition, the City will restore the street grid, extend utilities to the site, and build fiber and WiFi infrastructure – all designed to make it marketable for private developers. A conceptual master plan completed last year calls for a levee park, a community plaza for festivals, and a mixture of buildings containing offices, retail shops, and places to live.

See the NKyTribune’s earlier story here.


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