COVINGTON, Ky. — Covington is just weeks away from losing more than 500 jobs.
The longtime IRS site will close in September - a big change the city has been preparing for since 2016.
The big question - what will fill that 23-acre space?
The city, which plans to buy the property, presented three plans to the public Thursday night. Each option features a multi-purpose development with varying amounts of retail, office, hotel and residential space.
Dozens like Chris Meyer and Chuck Gordon packed Covington's city hall. Meyer said he’s concerned about replacing jobs.
That's a major percentage of taxes for the city,” Meyer said. “The city makes most of its taxes off payroll taxes."
Gordon is concerned about parking.
"I love the urban thing that they want to do, the mixed use, but I do have a concern about parking because you look at Mainstrasse and, you know, there's problems there,” Gordon said. “There just isn't space."
City Manager David Johnston knows that jobs and parking are a concern for a lot of people. He said it's all about balance.
"Parking is an integral issue that has to be addressed in developing something like this, but we're also in the middle of changing driving habits," Johnston said.
Creating foot traffic is also a top priority.
Meyer said whatever goes here has to stand out to survive.
"Hopefully when they do the design guidelines for this, it incorporates stuff that contributes to the local sense of place,” Meyer said.
The city hopes to have a final plan to present to the public by December. It will also need to make zoning changes next year for the project to move forward.