By Ryan Clark
The first big wave of Lewisburg’s RIPPLE effect came in Tuesday night.
In February, the neighborhood won the right to get a business area makeover, when a plan called the Lewisburg Thorofare Project was chosen by the City as part of The RIPPLE Effect, that pledged public and private funding (including $300,000 in CDBG-funded infrastructure improvements) to the idea.
It all moved forward at the city commission’s regularly-scheduled caucus meeting Tuesday night.
Jeremy Wallace, the city’s community development manager, presented an update of the proposal. He explained that since awarding the funds, the City has been working with the Lewisburg group to better define the public improvements and private investments.
“We were tasked with developing a final scope for the work,” Wallace told the commission.
Over the past few months, Wallace said city officials have been talking with representatives and they developed these priorities:
*Neighborhood identity; physical gateways
*Alley improvements (W. 12th to W. Pike)
*Improvements to existing properties
Wallace went on to describe that the streetscape improvements begin at the intersection of West Pike Street, Western Avenue and Montague Road before stretching north and south along West Pike.
The alley upgrades include improved access to new and existing businesses, as well as paving, while a new, physical gateway will include lighted pylons, pedestrian arches and sculptural canopies.
Rent subsidies, facade grants and other exterior improvements will be made to these properties:
*717 W. Pike Street
*721 W. Pike Street
*1112 W. Pike Street
*Be Concerned Building
*Herb & Thelma’s
Next, Wallace said the city will begin working on designs for the streetscapes and alley improvements, while also finding design professionals to create options for the neighborhood gateways, which he called one of the most important things an area can have.
Final designs and contracts will then be submitted to the commission for approval.
“We’ll see if you agree with our thoughts moving forward,” Wallace said.
Director of Public Works Announces Retirement
City Manager David Johnston said he asked Rick Davis, the city’s public services director and assistant city engineer, to stay a little longer , but Davis talked with his wife and they determined that now would be the best time for him to retire.
So the city is now tasked with finding a replacement in two major positions: Director of Public Works and City Engineer.
Johnston said the Public Works position has been posted and officials are looking at firms to possibly find an interim director.
Davis, who’s worked for Covington for more than six years, has been a part of several high-profile projects, and has been “instrumental” to the city, Johnston said.
“We wish you all the best,” Commissioner Denny Bowman said.
Both Commissioners Tim Downing and Shannon Smith suggested also using the social network LinkedIn to expand the search.
“These are going to be big shoes to fill,” Bowman said.
Others Announce Retirement
Several other government workers applied for retirement as well, including:
Police Officer Bob Bacon
Police Officer Rob Linton
Fire Department Lt. Chris Vogelpohl
Fire Department Engineer Greg Seifner
Fire Department Engineer Anthony Frey
Firefighter David Kampsen
Neighborhood Services Department Section 8 Rep. Angel Ennis
Ad Valorem Tax Rate Deadline Coming Up
Commissioners must decide the tax rates for real and personal property. For the fiscal year 2018-19 the commission approved a tax of 0.327 for each $100 of all assessed or assessable real property and 0.349 for each $100 of all assessed or assessable personal property. The due date for new taxes to be established is Oct. 15.
The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Aug. 27, at the Covington City Hall at 20 West Pike St.
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