The 900 block of Banklick Street in Covington was an urban disaster.
Included in the historic area of Covington’s Westside, it had fallen into grave disrepair. Despite its good location near an elementary school, the block was completely vacant and had been for years.
Today, construction is nearing an end on the 900 block of Banklick, and the friendly streetscape is filled with new or rehabbed houses. Two homes are already under contract for sale, and given the increasing need for moderate income housing, the others may sell quickly, too.
The entire transformation of a city block is the work of Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods
(CGN). This non-profit, neighborhood-based community development organization has been around for almost 40 years, beginning in 1976 as the Covington Community Center.
Its goals are to support neighborhoods and housing, youth development and financial education.
It was while working with the 18 different neighborhood associations in Covington that CGN heard residents voice their concern for more home ownership and neighborhood revitalization.
Following residents’ lead and funded by United Way
, Place Matters
and other granting sources like the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program
, CGN began to purchase structures a decade ago to rehab them for private sale.
Since that time, 33 homes have either been rehabilitated or newly constructed as in-fill housing.
Adam Rockel, CGN’s community development specialist, praises the City of Covington for its ongoing support.
“Without them, we would not be doing the things that we do,” he says.
Over the years, the city had purchased many blighted properties that it has sold cheaply to CGN for rehabilitation, and it supports CGN’s work with grants and assistance to meet building standards for historic structures.
Rockel sees more good in CGN’s work than just repopulating blighted neighborhoods. “We’re…transforming them into really beautiful homes, raising appraisal rates, and giving people pride in their neighborhoods again.”
By Becky Johnson