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City of Covington receives Special Merit Award for inclusion efforts, development of central riverfront

The City of Covington has long walked the walk on being inclusive and welcoming. Through intentional policies, practical actions, and statements of support, “y’all means all” is a philosophy, not just a goal in The Cov.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Recently the City received the Special Merit Award for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion from the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association. At the same time, the City received the organization’s Special Merit Award for Outstanding Master Plan for the Covington Central Riverfront (CCR) Strategic Master Plan.

(Photo from City of Covington)

Covington Economic Development Director Tom West shared the separate awards at Tuesday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting, saying he was most proud of the DEI award, which salutes the City’s “community impact through transformational leadership.”

“The DEI award is so special because it recognizes the fact that our community has lived these values for decades, long before they became buzzwords,” West said.

The City was nominated for the honor by Sharmili Reddy, executive director of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County.

Meanwhile, West said the Outstanding Master Plan award recognizes the City’s hard and unconventional work in preparing for private development a 23-acre site near the riverfront that housed an IRS tax processing facility for almost 60 years. The City has involved many partners in taking a thoughtful, strategic approach toward creating a mixed-use development that will be integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods while transforming Covington’s downtown.

“To have statewide recognition from our peers for the CCR Master Plan is an honor that speaks to the collaborative vision of the community and to taking the path that is not necessarily the easiest or most conventional,” West said.

Mayor Joe Meyer casually referred to the plaques as “Economic Development’s awards,” but West rejected that description.

“These belong to the whole city and all of its leaders, now and in the past,” he said.

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