360 Fireworks Party

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


by Michael Monks 
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Attorney Walter Hornbeck  (L), Owner
Jerry Blaschke (C), code
enforcement officer Bob Wheeler (R)
The southeast corner of 6th & Main Streets is home to an attractive opportunity but the building is in an unattractive state of disrepair. That prompted the City of Covington to cite owner Jerry Blaschke for visible roof damage, a dilapidated entrance and trim that is lacking upkeep at 602 Main Street. The windows are covered in brown paper per a city request, though some of it is falling off. Blaschke, who also owns the adjoining Cosmo's Bar & Grille and fourteen properties in all, appeared before the Code Enforcement board at City Hall Wednesday night, alongside his attorney, Walter Hornbeck. 
Shop owner Sandi Stonebreaker
speaks against Blaschke
The property has long been a point of contention in the Mainstrasse Village because of its prominent location at the busy intersection and because it has become increasingly less attractive since the last business to occupy it, Gothic Edge, moved out several years ago. "I'm tired of being embarrassed by 602 Main," said Sandi Stonebreaker, owner of Stoney's All Things Princess & Fairy around the corner on 6th Street. "When I look at it I see neglect, inner city blight and a lack of city pride." Stonebreaker described seeing water run directly off the building's roof on to the sidewalk where it freezes in the winter because 602 Main lacks gutters. "It's an insult to those of us that take care of our buildings," she said. Stonebreaker was joined by Charles Killian, owner of the building that houses the Magic Shop on Philadelphia Street, in being concerned with the condition of 602 Main.
602 Main Street
"It's unfair to residents, other business owners and visitors to our city to see a prominent building (in that condition)," said Covington City Manager Larry Klein, who shared his concern over the length of time it took Blaschke to complete repairs to the facde of 604 Main Street where Cosmo's is and for which Blaschke appeared before the Covington City Commission after failing to secure permission for his original design plans. "I would encourage a short timeline (for repairs) and suggest that the owner pay fines or what it costs to maintain the property," Klein said. 
Members of the code enforcement board
Hornbeck defended Blaschke, arguing that the property owner has invested $300,000 in 602, 604, and 606 Main Street in the last three years. A new roof for 602 would cost $10,000 according to a contractor that placed a bid for Blaschke. "We can only do one project at a time," Hornbeck said before continuing with an explanation that banks are not lending right now and that out of the fourteen properties that Blaschke owns, only 602 Main faces a complaint. Code Enforcement officer Bob Wheeler corrected the record and said that a complaint also exists for Blaschke's property at 320 Pershing Avenue. 
Board member Maurice Burdin was not buying the arguments. "To say that lending policies are stringent at banks, I have a hard time having that as an excuse," he said. "That's one of the downfalls of owning property."
"He owns more property than he can afford to maintain," Klein added. "Money should not be an excuse for someone that owns fourteen pieces of property. You're in the wrong business." Board chairman Neil Gilreath was upset that Historic Preservation Officer Beth Johnson was not present at the hearing because she is the one that instigated the complaint filed by Wheeler in the code enforcement department. Gilreath allowed a motion to come to the table and subsequently voted with the other members to allow Blaschke until January 11 (the next code enforcement board meeting) to present his plans to repair the property including drawings that will be on the fast track for approval by the historic preservationist.
Blaschke mentioned that he hopes eventually to turn 602 and 604 Main into a single deed and to remove the walls between them.


  1. Something needs to be done on this property. I suggest to the owner who is apparently in real estate business and should know how to, find the ways to do the required maintenance and up keep. This is a historic building with very nice architectural features. It is also one of the most desired locations in MainStrasse Village. Just can't understand why one can not find a better function and value for it rather than leaving it vacant without care.

  2. It's an ANCHOR location in the Village. Prime real estate. One of the most visible buildings in Mainstrasse and this guy can't get his act together enough to open some sort of business in it? He has had YEARS. And there it sits. Like a turd in a punchbowl. Hopefully the city will now lean on the owner to get something DONE. Otherwise, his neighbors are likely to come with torches and it won't be pretty.