By Cindy Schroeder
Enquirer staff writer
COVINGTON - Residents of Covington's Austinburg neighborhood can offer suggestions Thursday on a redevelopment plan aimed at eliminating blight and increasing home ownership.
City officials have proposed creating a 22-acre redevelopment zone that could result in the city buying two dozen properties, including some against the owners' wills.
City Planner Annalee Duganier said vacant and rundown industrial properties and homes would be replaced with new housing. Homes would be put on vacant lots and parks would be developed. Duganier said the hope is to eliminate blight and properties that don't conform to residential uses, such as a warehouse for pool chemicals, vacant commercial properties or homes, and a defunct pallet company.
Austinburg is in east-central Covington. It runs from 17th Street and Scott Boulevard east to the Licking River and south to Wallace Woods. The proposed redevelopment area is in the northeast, along the Licking River.
Covington lawyer Gailen W. Bridges, who owns the Covington Mobile Home Park, said city officials misrepresented their intentions in hearings last fall.
He said it's unfair that Covington officials want to buy property from unwilling sellers when they aren't sure if the land would be used for new housing or parks.
"They have never answered as to how taking away 26 homes and replacing them with five or six or zero is going to increase home ownership," Bridges said.
Supporters include the Austinburg Neighborhood Association, said Tom DiBello, executive director of the Covington Community Center.
"These are not big developers wanting to put a shopping mall in here," DiBello said. "This is literally the city working in partnership with the neighborhood association."
DiBello said comments at eight hearings showed "overwhelming neighborhood support" for the plan.
Acquiring the properties through eminent domain would be the city's last resort, he said.
Duganier has said the city needs to find private money to make the project work.
If you go
What: Meeting to get public comment on the Austinburg Special Redevelopment Plan
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Covington City Commission chambers, 638 Madison Ave.
Information: (859) 292-2163
Bronson: Lucky nation that loses war to U.S.
Preschool kids share blessings
A DAY OF ANXIETY
Grim report on Maupin shadows Iraq takeover
Clermont prayer vigil helps keep hope alive
'He's just a sweet guy'
Iraq becomes a sovereign nation once more
Wisconsin site of Kiser funeral
MORE LOCAL HEADLINES
Child agency's reforms debated
Group proposes axing city tax
New design unveiled for Fountain Square
Tot Lot Posse's home base demolished
Arson likely in four fires
Trial under way for fired deputy
On-job shooter gets more time
State gasoline tax goes up 2 cents a gallon this week
Local news briefs
Fletcher issues spending plan
Cheney touts Davis, Bush
City wants input on Austinburg
Beating victim in hospital
Missing 5-year-old found dead in lake
Dress code for downtown rankles
Enrollment loss means smaller building plan
Part-time teachers pushing for union
Masters of reading
More get degrees, minorities still lag
Groundbreaking is today for Taft High School stadium
Students create robots
Road work to end risky dip
Health center opens $5.8M site
Bumiller took path less traveled
Elaine McCarty, teacher and avid volunteer