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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"TIME TO MOVE ON," regarding Commissioner's DUI; "OUR LAST CHANCE," to save Downtown Covington; TV'S KIT ANDREWS speaks at Commission meeting

by Michael Monks
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CITY HALL - A packed commission chambers Tuesday night was mainly the result of concern over whether to change a portion of Latonia's Church Street near Holy Cross High School to a one-way. But the issues at hand ran deeper than that, including the approval of yet another plan to revitalize downtown Covington and an outpouring of support for Commissioner Steve Frank from his fellow commissioners, following his arrest and guilty plea for DUI.

"I would have done the same for any one of us up here on Commission," said Commissioner Steve Casper, explaining why he elected to pick up Frank from the Kenton County Jail and attended Frank's court appearance.

"I don't condone nor do I condemn," Casper continued. "I am one for moving on so we can make Covington a better place to live and work."

"I admire (Frank) for the way he admitted what he had done and offering his apologies," said Commissioner Sherry Carran.

"Sensationalizing this in the media is counterproductive and it's time to move on," offered Commissioner Shawn Masters.

Explaining that it would be the last time that he apologizes publicly over the issue, Commissioner Frank repeated his apology and remorse. "I'm sorry I caused attention to the city when doesn't need it," Frank said. "We need to be focusing on economic development." Frank added that he hopes that his example reminds people to take a cab home after drinking alcohol.

Mayor Denny Bowman did not comment on the issue.


Community Development Director Jackson Kinney explained the Center City Action Plan (CCCAP), the latest in a long list of plans to revitalize Downtown Covington. This new plan, the result of a federal grant worth $359,000 for consulting purposes, is slated to bring together the other 19 plans initiated by the city since 2000. Kinney says CCCAP creates a broad based strategy to guide revitalization efforts.

"We need a big project to happen quickly," said Mayor Bowman. "This might be our last opportunity."

"We have plans sitting on shelves," added Carran. "With this group on board we'll take the best part of these plans and put them together. It's gonna energize all of us to work together."

"We have one last chance to get this right," said Frank.

The nearly three hour-long meeting started with the Church Street issue, in which a portion from East Southern Avenue and 36th Street would be rerouted as a one-way, an important issue to neighbors and families with children that attend Holy Cross.

Local TV news anchor Kit Andrews, of Edgewood, spoke before the commission saying that her kids attend Holy Cross and that she is a regular customer at the Latonia Kroger because of that. Andrews believes that a one-way street is not the answer to traffic and pedestrian problems, instead suggesting a turnaround and speedbumps. "When people stop using Holy Cross, you're gonna lose business," Andrews said.

A representative from the City explained that speedbumps cost $15,000 apiece, are also difficult to deal with during snow plowing and may even inspire young drivers to speed up to become airborne.

Mayor Bowman supports closing the street during school hours to all traffic. A vote is expected at the next commission meeting in two weeks.

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