COVINGTON — Covington Mayor Ed McCord issued a proclamation on during the Covington Council meeting on Monday evening to establish May 24-31 as World War I Centennial Week in Covington in honor of the new Covington Centennial WWI Monument being dedicated on Memorial Day.
McCord’s proclamation is “in recognition of the Centennial of Word War I, and in memory and celebration of the servicemen from the Covington, Ohio area and those from neighboring communities, who honorably served our country and did their part to safegaurd the blessings of freedom during the participation” during WWI. The proclamation also recognized the role Covington WWI servicemen who participated in the liberation of Belgium during WWI.
The Memorial Day Parade in Covington will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 27, and the Memorial Day services will be held at Highland Cemetery in Covington at approximately 1:30 p.m. following the parade. Those services will include a dedication ceremony for the new WWI monument. Lieutenant Colonel Heidi Libert, a senior officer in the Belgian Armed Forces, Air Component, and graduate of the Belgium Royal Military Academy, will give a speech during the dedication ceremony and lay a wreath at the WWI Monument on behalf of the Kingdom of Belgium in honor and remembrance of the nearly 300 Covington-area servicemen who served in WWI, including soldiers, sailors, and marines.
In other business, McCord and Village Administrator Mike Busse talked about the expansion of Marias Technology and the pending Downtown Redevelopment District for downtown Covington.
In a press release submitted last week, McCord, the council, and Busse thanked Chris and Doug Haines of Marias Technology for their continued commitment to Covington during the company’s time of growth.
“Mayor McCord and Village Council have a shared vision for the redevelopment of the Covington downtown area,” Busse said in the press release. “Working with our business partners such as Marias, we have a plan to transform the downtown area from what it is today into a renewed center of activity; with the first of many projects being the Marias project and Casey’s general store.
“The village is working with the Montrose Group to implement a downtown redevelopment district. This redevelopment district will allow for the creation of a revolving loan fund to incentivize future development in the Covington downtown.”
Chris Haines, president and CEO of Marias Technology, was also present during the council’s meeting on Monday, helping to explain the benefits of the village adopting a Downtown Redevelopment District.
“I want everyone to understand how good a thing this is,” Haines said.
Busse said, if they adopt this district, approximately 75 percent of any increase in the tax base in that district could go toward a separate fund, like a revolving loan fund to help fund local businesses with revitilizing the downtown. There would not be any new taxes applied to the downtown, but if a business in that district — such as Marias Technology, which is currently planning an approximate $3 million expansion — had commercial improvements, the taxes incured from those improvement would go toward that revolving loan fund.
Busse said it was a “new tool … to entice growth.”
During public comment, local resident Kathy Miller expressed concerns about wanting to paint curbs yellow in order to prevent people parking too close to crosswalks and stop signs, an issue that she brought up at past meetings. McCord spoke on behalf of the council, explaining that it was their intention not to pursue painting the curbs and stick to a complaint-driven policy. He said that they would have to paint the curbs everywhere in Covington and that it would remove on-street parking for some local residents.
“Our concern is about the whole village,” McCord said. “What you’re proposing is to discriminate against the east end because otherwise we would have to paint yellow lines at all the village. We have to be concerned about all of the village, not just the east end for those few times that happens. That means everywhere … So when we get those complaints, I’m assuming you would help us explain that to all those residents.”
McCord added that, from the council and his perspective, “the case was closed.”
“So why did we paint them back in 2015?” Miller asked.
“I have no idea why we painted them in 2015. I’m not even sure where we painted them in 2015,” McCord said. “The bottom line is, we’re not living in the past here, Kathy. We live in 2019 … we are not painting yellow curbs.”
Miller expressed concerns about using crosswalks with her husband, who is in a wheelchair, when a vehicle might be parked too close or even inside of the crosswalk.
McCord and a local police officer with the Covington Police Department encouraged to call 9-1-1 and make a report if that happens so the police department can address it.
McCord added that those in violation would face a $15 ticket for improper parking.
“We can’t make the ordinance fit what you want to fit,” McCord said.
Miller said that was not her intention for people to receive tickets.
“I want that street to be safe,” Miller said.
Other local residents came forward during public comment, expressing concerns about appearance issues in the village, including dog excrement on Chestnut Street and properties in need of maintenance. Joyce Robertson of Covington also asked questions in regard to upcoming village projects, including the High Street reconstruction project, the intention of a park for the old middle school lot, and a loan from the village’s general fund to the trash fund.
The council also approved a change order request of $15,253 to for the south end lift station renovation project, bringing the total cost of the project to approximately $196,000.
The council approved spending $3,100 for Gunkel Tree Service to remove a dead ash tree on the 300 block of South Pearl Street along with the removal of trees and brush along the bike path property near the 300 block of North Wall Street. Busse said that he had sought bids from local tree service businesses as he was instructed, but the one local business to bid on the project also withdrew their bid on Monday.
The council also approved the purchase of 150 trash toters that are 48 gallons from Best Equipment for $9,004. These toters will be used to implement the village’s low volume trash program, which will save participants $2 on their utility bills each month.
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