Covington improving blighted properties one house at a time

‘No one wants to invest in their home when [that’s] home across the street from them’

Cleaning up blight in Covington one house at a time

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - The City of Covington is making some big changes to its neighborhoods, one house at a time.

The city is transforming some eyesore properties into beautiful homes in an anti-blight program. Through the program, the city will advertise a property sale. Those interested can submit a proposal to the city. the city will then choose the best proposal and the highest offer to renovate the property.

Mark Borison has lived in Covington for nearly four years. He says when he moved in, the house across the street from him was an eyesore, but he eventually got used to it. 

“It was just a visual aesthetic,” Borison said. “I would say, if anything, people visiting me were more uncomfortable about it than I was.”

Ken Smith, neighborhoods services director, who is overseeing the anti-blight program, says rundown properties can bring several problems, like crime and drugs.

“I mean, if you have a boarded-up building or a building with broken windows, no one wants to look at that, and no one wants to invest in their home when [that’s] home across the street from them,” said Smith.

Smith says the newly renovated three-bedroom home on Lee Street is just the first step of many more renovations. He says over the years, the city has acquired several vacant properties either through tax liens or procedures. Now they are putting the land to good use.

“We decided we wanted to get this property in the hands of somebody who could do something with them and turn them into back into positive assets for the city, get them occupied by residents and get them back on the tax rolls,” he said.

Borison is happy with the progress the program has made.

“I’m excited because the neighborhood looks beautiful now,” he said. “It’s attracting a lot of business. On the other hand, I’m incredibly concerned my rent’s going up.”

Smith tell FOX19 NOW that when he initially saw the house on Lee Street before it was renovated, he was afraid that no one would bid on it because it was in such bad shape. He says that he never imagined it would be transformed into this.

The house is expected to hit the market for sale in the next few weeks.

We’re told there are already a few more projects underway right now, including two homes on Philadelphia Street.

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