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Covington commission discusses renewing current city hall lease, economic development issues, more

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

Once again, it looks as if Covington City Hall’s time in its current home will be extended.

The commissioners met for their regularly scheduled caucus meeting this week at the current site for City Hall at 20 West Pike St. A proposal will ensure they’ll be doing it a little longer while they wait for the new Scott Street campus to be built.

With the current lease on 20 West Pike running out this month, it became imperative for the Commission to act quickly. The proposal calls for a two-year extension of the lease, with a one-year option renewal.

The price will increase from $21,250 to $27,917 per month, but it is still very competitive for the current financial climate, City Manager Ken Smith said.

“I did confirm that it was under what the average rate is,” he said.

Covington City Hall

This is the city’s second go-around in the building. The first was 1985-1990, when they moved to the Coppin’s building, now the site of Hotel Covington.

The second stay began in late 2013, when they signed a five-year lease from Oct. 2013 to Sept. 2018. That was renewed for four years, until Sept. 2022, when Commissioners exercised a one-year option.

That brings us to Sept. 30, 2023 — and a decision had to be made.

“My concern is that it puts us in a compromising position regarding this lease,” said Commissioner Shannon Smith. “I wanted to check in to make sure that moving forward we at least have something in place to not put us in this position down the road.”

Smith said she would feel more comfortable if the city discussed some “next steps” to avoid a similar situation.

The new City Hall location will be located at 620 and 622 Scott Blvd., and officials hope to be able to move into the new site in 2025.

The proposal will be on the regular agenda for next week’s legislative meeting.

Economic Development

Commissioners heard economic development proposals for:

A Lease Agreement with Pike Star LLC, 112 West Pike Street, for $63,166.

“Since 2013, the City has leased the commercial space at 112 W. Pike in order to support Innovation Alley and its emerging entrepreneurs who have called this block home,” a memorandum from the Economic Development Department to Mayor Meyer reads.

“Our primary support has been through holding the lease and then subleasing at a reduced rate to UpTech for the first seven years and then to the NKU Collaborative starting in August 2020. We are asking for a year extension on the lease with the Collaborative as we work together to determine how best to activate this space moving forward, which may include additional co-working space for entrepreneurs.”

The space is now home to a variety of entities, including:

• BizAccess Hub holds office hours all day on Thursdays
• KeyHorse meets with clients there roughly once a month (depending on demand).
• NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is there weekly and they teach a course there in summers.
• Chase Center for Small Businesses and Non-profits teaches a course and holds meetings with clients on a weekly basis year in fall and spring and monthly in the summer.
• ECDI/Women’s Business Center is there twice a week for office hours and on weekends for group and client meetings.
• Square1 is there twice a week in the summer and daily during fall and spring.
• SoCap Acclerate holds occasional meetings there.
• NKU Center for Economic Analysis and Development holds occasional meetings
The Collaborative Director is there daily 8:30-4:15
• Blue North has an office space and meets with clients.
• African American Chamber of Commerce holds office hours there monthly.
• NKCAC has weekly office hours for small business support.
• NKU Initiative for Health Innovation holds periodic classes and meetings.

A Sublease Agreement with NKUF Properties 10 LLC, 112 West Pike Street, for $31,200.

The authorization $2,110,653 in matching TIF Funds, needed to complete the 7th Street and Madison Avenue Streetscape Projects

“In 2019, $1,0280,000 in TIF funds were recommended by the CEDA Board for upgrading the streetscapes on 7th between Washington and Madison as well as on Madison between 8th and 11th Streets,” city documents read. “Public Works recently bid out the work which resulted in a deficit of $1,082,653 from the original bid, due to the increase in construction costs, a state-required inspector to be on site at all times and a 10 percent contingency. On Sept. 7, 2023, the CEDA Board approved the increase and recommends that Commission also approve the new bid amount of $2,110,653 in TIF dollars.”

All were placed on next Tuesday’s consent agenda.

Resignations, Retirements and Promotions

Commissioners heard proposals for these new resignations, retirements and promotions:

Promotion – Andrew Endicott, Sergeant, Police Department (Celebratory)
Resignation – Penny Koons, Tax Auditor, Finance Department
Retirement – Officer Mathew Hugenberg, Police Officer, Police Department
Retirement – Sergeant Derek Uhl, Police Officer, Police Department

All were placed on next week’s consent agenda.

Commissioners absent
Both Commissioners Tim Downing and Steve Hayden were absent.

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Sept. 26, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels. 1

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