by Michael Monks
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Covington must attract new businesses and new residents in order to revitalize itself. That message has played out twice this week: first, at Tuesday's commission meeting when the community development department showcased its successes in the final quarter of 2011 and discussed how they will bolster their efforts to lure and retain businesses; second, at Mayor Chuck Scheper's speech to the Covington Business Council Thursday.
The effort to bring businesses and residents to town is a long-standing one as proven by an old pamphlet created by The Covington Industrial Club, a precursor to the modern Chamber of Commerce, which dates back to somewhere between 1910 and 1920 (though no date is given). The Library of Congress is in possession of the recruitment effort and has it online for all of us to see today.
It was titled, Covington: As Seen Through The Camera:
It's interesting to note some of the similar circumstances from then as compared to now: for businesses, there is plenty of affordable commercial space, there are plenty of banks, and there is plenty of access to regional metros. For residents, Covington still boasts a large and affordable housing stock, a top-notch public library, and a couple of large public parks.
So, what has changed over the past hundred years that may make Covington a harder sale for prospective entrepreneurs and families looking to relocate?
- Do we still have an abundance of skilled and unskilled labor? Maybe not an abundance, but the City's emphasis on growing Gateway College's urban campus aims to address that.
- The exemption from taxation on raw materials as presented by the Industrial Club in this pamphlet may not be completely irrelevant. As was discussed Tuesday night, Covington must do a better job of highlighting its assets to prospective businesses and as was noted Thursday afternoon, the City must do a better job of marketing itself.
- As for schools, Covington probably cannot describe the current state of our public education as "splendid" as the Industrial Club did, but more attention is being paid to our education system by administration and by citizens.
Another interesting note from this old pamphlet is a photograph of where the Industrial Club housed its offices: inside the "Coppin Building" which is where City Hall is today and where these same efforts are being created.
The effort to bring in new businesses and new residents is as old as the City of Covington itself. Some of the language and general promotional ideas are timeless. But as our city tries to move forward in this relatively young new century, the stakes have never been higher. What worked in the past may serve us well as we look toward the future.
See the entire document online at: Archive.org or see more from the pamphlet below (it's interesting to note that many of the highlighted buildings are available today for new entrepreneurs):
|The Carnegie was a library then, but|
is now a visual & performing arts
center that is very important to
|The old German National|
Bank is more beautiful than
ever, standing proudly on Madison
Avenue where it is available right now!
Take a look at the two buildings pictured at the bottom of the next two photos. One of them may be at the corner of 6th & Russell and available right now as retail and residential spaces. (Click to enlarge.)
The old Marx building on Madison is also available right now as commercial space: