From spaceship house to 'handsome' TP dispenser

From left, Business Attraction Manager Susan Smith, Zoning Administrator Dan Wood, Administrative Assistant Katie O’Neill, Regulatory Services Manager & Historic Preservation Specialist Kaitlin Bryan, Business Retention & Expansion Manager Patrick Duffy, Infrastructure Development Specialist (and Covington Motor Vehicle Parking Authority Executive Director) Kyle Snyder.

Annual awards celebrate quirky fun, sensitive restoration of historic buildings

COVINGTON, Ky. – The theme was not of this world.

In a tribute to the City of Covington’s newest public art – the 30-foot green fiberglass-and-Styrofoam alien “Clive” climbing out of a parking garage – an irreverent annual awards ceremony celebrating The Cov’s quirkiness evoked all things extraterrestrial:

  • The festive attire – at least for the organizers and hosts from the City’s Economic Development – flashed with shimmery celestial and Trek-glamorous.
  • Lights from Alloy FX flashed neon colors throughout the Pike Street Arcade, the above-ground brick-lined tunnel connecting Pike and Seventh streets used by the City courtesy of nearby Klingenberg’s Hardware & Paint.
  • Snacks included galaxy swirl donuts from Latonia’s Moonrise Doughnuts and freeze-dried space candy from Baby Bubba’s Catering & Sweet Treats in Botany Hills.
  • And the recognizable theme music from famous “star” movies provided the background for the back-and-forth introduction from Patrick Duffy and Kaitlin Bryan:

“A long time ago … in a galaxy far, far away … Covingtonians alike gathered for the annual jubilee … celebrating the return of our overlord Clive … and the earthlings dedicated to the community …”

The afterhours event Friday was the presentation of two groups of awards:

  • The fourth-annual Authenti-CITY Awards to honor five local businesses, individuals, events, or organizations that embrace the uniqueness of our city and are “keepin’ it real in The Cov.” These were presented by Duffy, the City’s Business Retention & Expansion Specialist.
  • And the Preservation Excellence Awards, which recognize sensitive renovation of historical buildings. These were presented by Bryan, the City’s Regulatory Services Manager & Historic Preservation Specialist.

Both are timely: Last week was National Economic Development Week, and May is National Preservation Month.

(Each day this week, the City will be profiling the award winners in a series of daily releases and/or social media photo albums.)


The Authenti-CITY nominees are voted on by a committee of City staff using an informal process that’s high on passion and disagreement (but it all works out in the end).

As the award description says, “The Authenti-CITY award recognizes local businesses, individuals, events, or organizations that embrace the uniqueness of our city and are ‘keepin’ it real in The Cov.’ These folks play a vital role in maintaining our city’s distinctive character and charm and, honestly, they are just darn good at what they do!”

This year’s winners of the gold-colored trophies from Egleston-Maynard Sports topped with a goat in tribute to the Goebel Goats (it’s a long story):

  • Rosie’s Tavern, a drinking spot dating to 1896 on the southern edge of MainStrasse Village.
  • The Roost – Latonia, a combination coffee shop, thrift and antique store, and community gathering place that has hosted everything from music concerts to agricultural classes to political meetings.
  • The Lowrider Car Show at OLLA Taqueria Gutierrez, a festival celebrating unique and colorful cars, Mexican food, music, and more on or around Mexican Independence Day near the popular restaurant in Westside.
  • The ATM Confessional at Herb & Thelma’s Tavern, a burger and bar in Lewisburg with a 1939 griddle where cash is king.
  • The Ruggedly Handsome Toilet Paper Guy, a quirky and irreverent TP dispenser inside the restroom at Left Bank Coffeehouse in Historic Licking Riverside.

Historic preservation

The Covington Preservation Excellence Award Program recognizes outstanding recent contributions to the preservation of the city’s historic fabric, which is particularly relevant given Covington is more than 200 years old with hundreds of historically significant buildings, both residential and commercial.

“In Covington, we like to rehab, refurbish, repurpose, resurrect, recycle, and reincarnate buildings,” Bryan explained. “We’re better at it than anywhere else in the Commonwealth. It’s part of what makes Covington special and brings our community together.”

There were winners in five categories, and they received etched glass-block trophies:

  • Exterior Restoration – Residential: Covert Design & Build for the renovation of 318 Berry St.
  • Adaptive Re-Use – Residential: Christine Wesdorp for the renovation of 330 Pike St.
  • Adaptive Re-Use – Commercial: vR Group for North by Hotel Covington.
  • Interior Restoration: Lesley and Victor Hugo for the renovation of Junipers Gin Bar, 409 W. 6th St., (The John R. Green Building).
  • Preservation Stewardship: Rob Detzel for The Futuro House, 224 Wright St.

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