Cov commission had ‘happy day’ with RAISE grant news; set priorities for coming year

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

It was truly a “happy day,” according to Mayor Joseph U. Meyer. Why? Well, he had about 16 million reasons.

“We announced a little while ago that the city did receive a RAISE grant this year, over $16 million, from the Transportation Cabinet that was for phase two of the Covington Central Riverfront project,” City Manager Ken Smith told commissioners at their regularly scheduled legislative meeting this week. “With the help of (Director of Special Projects & Inter-Governmental Affairs) Elizabeth Wetzel and a lot of folks contributing to that, we were successful. And I have to tell you I had no idea how competitive this was until we had the debrief after getting it — there are literally hundreds of applications, and it is a very vigorous review process.”

Covington was notified it is the recipient of a federal RAISE grant for $16,282,700 to be used for Phase II public infrastructure at the CCR site – including wide sidewalks, a land bridge that reaches to the top of the Ohio River levee, and a public parking garage topped by a podium structure that will support festival and park space.

Covington Commission meeting (Photo by Ryan Clark/NKyTribune)

The announcement comes a year after a $1.635 billion investment in the nearby Brent Spence Bridge Corridor project that was delivered by President Joe Biden. So Mayor Joseph U. Meyer has a few people to thank.

“Well, on that point, I need to take a minute to thank President Biden and the White House,” Mayor Meyer said. “They have been very generous in giving us access and allowing us to make our case for Covington.”

He said the government’s engagement began before the Brent Spence Bridge project was finalized.

“They really helped provide some great national leadership that has resulted in the much-improved project that we have,” Meyer said. “It’s went on through their invitation to the White House, and the opportunity to speak directly with the leadership of the Transportation Cabinet, and the result here today is the $16.3 million grant for the city to help us with CCR, so it’s truly a happy day for the city of Covington.”

Each of the Commissioners went on to thank Wetzel and the staff.

“This grant is going to help us re-grid that area,” said Commissioner Tim Downing. “We’ve talked a lot about how important this is for our city, and this is a major step forward for us and it helps make sure that our city is not carrying the entirety of that financial burden, so thank you again to our staff for working hard to make sure that we can secure this.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

Commission Priorities

Commissioners approved a priorities list for the next fiscal year, including:

• Develop plan for the Parking Authority to achieve full independence from the city with the specific goal of removing it and its finances as a component unit of the city government

• Initiate construction of the new City Hall

• Complete review and action on the Covington–Newport bicycle plan

• Solicit bids for electric franchises for the City of Covington

• Increase affordable housing focus by fully operationalizing Neighborhood Investment Partners, Inc as an independent provider and manager of affordable housing

• Review the compliance of the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky with the city’s licensure requirements, and specifically require a management review by an independent third party of the Shelter’s policies and operations for the purposes of decreasing Shelter reliance on the city’s first responders and reducing negative impact on adjoining neighborhoods

• Consider Licking Riverside traffic proposal with 4th St ridge/road diet plan, in particular 4th Street from Greenup to the bridge and the removal of bridge traffic from Garrard Street

• Award contract for the conversion of Scott and Greenup Streets to two-way

• Enter into agreement for the resolution of the street and basement flooding in the area of 36th and Park through the construction of a separate storm sewer

• Update the Ordinances and Orders related to required reports to the Board of Commissioners

• Consider the creation of a Health Insurance Planning Commission to review the sustainability of the city’s self-insurance health plans

• City Management should continue the work of improving the management of and access to city records, and the upgrading of various policies and procedures

• Be mindful of opportunities to further develop the concept of a joint City-Board of Education Recreation Commission

• Develop a comprehensive plan to address the uneven and broken up sidewalks in MainStrasse Village

First Readings

Commissioners heard first readings of these ordinances:

• An ordinance naming the planned southbound frontage road extension to I-75/71 connecting West 4th Street and Pike Street and extending Bullock Street as “Bullock Street.”

• An ordinance naming the planned extension to the northbound frontage road to I-75/71 connecting West 5th Street and Pike Street as “Willow Run Road.”


Commissioners approved an order promoting specialist Gideon Craymer to Sergeant effective July 7.

“Congratulations on your promotion,” Mayor Meyer said. “Your record with the Covington Police Department shows that you have earned this, and we expect you to continue your leadership and to show the fine qualities that you’ve exhibited as an officer.”

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a caucus meeting held at 6 p.m., July 9, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meeting 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.

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