Life Learning Center Celebrates New Home at Stewart Iron Works Site

COVINGTON - The Life Learning Center today celebrated its future new home at 20 West 18thStreet with the Catalytic Development Fund, the City of Covington and 90 other community and regional partners in attendance.


The new location is better known to locals as Stewart Iron Works, located at the corner of Madison and 18th Street, just south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/12thStreet. This building was a long-time vacant, blighted brownfield site in need of significant investment, until the Catalytic Fund, Corporex and the City partnered on the project that has put the building back into play with help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Funds from the EPA have been used to clean up the site, which have enabled the site to welcome new habitable development. HUD funds were utilized to assist in the rehabilitation of the historic structure.


Jeanne Schroer, President/CEO of the Catalytic Development Fund, says, "The [Catalytic Fund] was pleased to help facilitate this transaction resulting in the location of the Kentucky Career Center at the Robke site and now the life Learning Center at Stewart Ironworks. These projects, which repurpose two buildings,will accelerate the revitalization of this part ofthe Madison Avenue corridor and will complement previous investments there by HealthPoint, the Diocese of Covington, and Walgreens.At the same time, the projects will allow two high impact organizations expand their excellent work in providing services that focus on assisting individuals achieve economic self-sufficiency."


"Having the Life Learning Center here goes well beyond just occupying a vacant building. Its demonstrated success benefits people most importantly, but also supports the City's efforts in attracting jobs by providing the trained and dependable workforce needed to fill those jobs." says Larry Klein, City Manager.


Once redevelopment work is complete, The Life Learning Center (LLC) will move from its current space on 15th Street to the new location. LLC will acquire the Stewart Iron Works building from the City which purchased it in 2009 with assistance from the Kenton County Fiscal Court.In its new renovated facility, the LLC will continue to deliver its programs that target at-risk citizens to overcome employment challenges and financial obstacles. The LLC's holistic approach includes education programs and other resources that help transform lives.


LLC Board Chair Ed Hughes says, "The Life Learning Center creates lasting change for people and their families as they become a contributing part of the community.Having the [LLC] in a larger, more accessible location is one of the positive steps in the redevelopment of Covington's urban core."


Larisa Sims, Assistant City Manager and Lead Project Manager on behalf of the City says, "This project embodies what a true partnership can bring to a community. Not only have we secured a useful and timely service to those citizens in need during a time when Kentucky is experiencing an increase in poverty and unemployment, but we have redeveloped a very large and visible building on one of the most travelled thoroughfares through our downtown. It was an impossible task but we came together and made it happen."


This project is the third of three visible development projects that have landed on Madison Avenue, south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/12thStreet, in the last year. Last October, Walgreens re-located on the corner of Madison and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard/12thStreet and in December, the Kentucky Career Center announced its plans to move its current 4thStreet office to the old Robke site located at 1314 Madison Avenue.


Both the KY Career Center and the LLC project is a joint result of a complicated deal that began in 2009 and involves multiple agencies, including the City, the Catalytic Development Fund and other state and federal agencies.