Commission Meeting Highlights 9/10/2013

Duke Energy Foundation Funds Urban Core Development Projects

The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded 10 grants totaling more than $320,000 to revitalize local urban areas that have experienced job loss and economic downturn, including three exciting projects to take place in the urban core of Covington. The Foundation's Spokeswoman Rhonda Whitaker, also Director of Government and Community Relations for Duke Energy, presented to City Commission. The funds apportioned to Covington-based projects include:

  • Mutual Building LLC received approximately $63,000 for The Mutual Project located at 619-629 Madison Ave. The manager of that corporation is Bill Kruetzjans Jr. and the funds are for historic tax credits, architectural and engineering fees.
  • Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky received $30,000 to assist with LEED certification expenses and architectural and engineering services on the 220 Pike St. Redevelopment Project.
  • Catalytic Development Funding Corp. of Northern Kentucky received $50,000 to assist with architectural services, tax credit surveys and consultations on the Hotel Covington/City Building Redevelopment located at 20 West Pike Street.

Jeanne Schroer said at a press conference this morning, "These developers are going to have a transformative effect in Covington." 

City Hires Four New Police Officers

Commission approved the hiring of four new Police Officers who passed all phases of testing and, according to Chief Spike Jones, all come highly recommended. One Officer, John Coulter, previously held post as the City's Solid Waste Coordinator since 2008. Other Officers include Daniel Merrell, Jesse Wenning and Matthew Blackwell.

Devou Park Restricts Archeological Digging

Commission approved an ordinance to establish a permitting process for archaeological excavation in Devou Park. The new ordinance also states that all artifacts found in Devou Park are property of the Commonwealth and are to be retained permanently for future study and curated with an appropriate institution.

Interim Finance Director Hired

The City officially welcomed Ivan Frye as new Interim Finance Director. Ivan Frye retired from his post of 27 years as the Kenton County Treasurer. He has worked for County Judges Dressman, Aldemeyer, Middleton, Cain, Murgatroyd, Drees and Arlinghaus. He retired 6 years ago and since then has been a special projects manager for Judge Drees and now Judge Arlinghaus. In this post, Ivan managed both the financing and construction of the new County jail, Rosedale Manor, Kenton County Golf Course expansions, in addition to other projects. In his tenure at the County, he was also in charge of the IT department and has overseen several conversions to new financial software systems.

Ivan has an MBA from Murray State University, and his undergraduate degree is from the University of Nebraska (while he was in the Army). He is also are retired US Army officer, retiring at the rank of Major. He is a Vietnam Veteran. Near the end of his Army career he also was in charge of the ROTC program at NKU.

The City's recent Accounts Manager Jerome Heist filled in as the Interim Finance Director since Bob Due's termination, and will resume his original position with the City.

City Hires New Director of Public Improvements

Commission approved the hire of Rick Davis as the City's new Director of Public Improvements/Assistant City Engineer. Mr. Davis is currently a Transportation Engineering Branch Manager at KYTC where he oversees over 50 employees and manages a diverse range of projects from infrastructure to graffiti removal, He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and is also a Kentucky Registered Professional Engineer.

Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims reported that the City received 44 applications for the position. According to Sims, "Rick Davis's unique expertise and experience makes him the best fit for this position." Rick Davis will begin his post on October 1, 2013.

Commissioner Chuck Eilerman congratulated staff for the recommendation and said "this is a great addition to the team."

Retaining Wall Improvements at Main Entry Point into Devou Park

According to Mike Yeager, City Engineer, the retaining walls along Devou Drive near Western Avenue, and at the main entry point of Devou Park, are failing. Commission approved Thelen Associates to provide design services for the project. Thelen has been investigating this issue since the 1990's and is acknowledged as a long-standing expert on the project. The scope of the work will include fixes for the entire road as well as construction estimates so that the City can plan for future projects.The work will enable the construction of the top three priority area in the Spring of 2014.