COVINGTON, Ky. - Wanted: Engaged people who like food, have opinions ... and would voice them in casual settings.
The topic is the future of the 23-acre Internal Revenue Service site just south of the Ohio River in Covington, and what should go on the site after the IRS leaves this fall.
Specifically, Covington is seeking people to both host and attend what are called Civic Dinners, a trendy platform being used across the nation to encourage public discussions of issues and policy.
About a dozen and a half such dinners have either been scheduled or are in the works in Covington as part of the IRS public input process. But the City and consultants who are developing a conceptual master plan for the site say many other people have expressed interest.
The goal is to transform that interest into dinner conversations that help the City get a sense of what the public thinks, said Jenn Graham, co-founder and CEO of Civic Dinners, which is working with master consultant Cooper Carry on the IRS project.
“These dinners are actually really fun, and super easy,” Graham said. “You can get fancy, or you can do something as simple as ordering pizza, having people bring potluck dishes, or meeting at your favorite local restaurant.”
To learn about the dinners or to sign up as a host, click HERE
. You can also use the link to find a hosted dinner to attend.
The dinners are designed for six to 10 guests. Hosts can invite their own guests or let people sign up to attend. A Host Guide spells out the three questions that hosts should use to guide the conversation, and questionnaires are used to gather input.
The concept works because conversation around dinner and drinks is more productive and inviting than it would be in a 200-seat assembly hall or a Facebook comment section, Graham said. “We’ve done this in hundreds of cities, and invariably people tell us what a rewarding experience it was,” she said.
About the site
The IRS has long been one of Covington’s biggest employers. Its sprawling, one-story processing facility takes up about 17 acres between Fourth and Third streets, with parking on an additional 6 acres. The complex is controlled by the federal General Services Administration, but Cooper Carry is helping Covington develop a strategy to gain control of the site.
# # #