COVINGTON, Ky. — As Americans scramble to get their taxes done, officials in Covington are taking an excavator to the site that once housed the source of so much frustration.
The city joined O'Rourke Wrecking Monday to begin the demolition of the former IRS facility, once Covington's largest employer. The 23-acre site is set to house a mixed-use complex including a hotel, office space, apartments, condos, parking garages, a plaza and a park overlooking the river.
"We so much wanted to sell blows of a sledgehammer to people who wanted to take one out on the IRS," Mayor Joe Meyer said.
Meyer said it will take until around the end of September to clear out the property. Once the building's gone, streets and sidewalks will go back in, opening up part of downtown Covington for the first time in about six decades.
"We've got the convention center here, they plan an expansion. New hotels are anticipated as part of the convention center expansion," Meyer said. "So the parks tying into the river, reinstating the street grid, apartments, condominiums ... we think it's going to be a really exciting place to live and be."
Some former employees, like Patty Hoffman, came out to watch the demolition. Hoffman worked at the facility for more than two decades, noting how busy this time of year always was.
"I just remember how long the hallway was and the tax returns all in the hallways, it was neat," Hoffman said. "Everybody had to be on the phones, we had to answer all those questions, let's get them done."
Not only did she watch the start of the demolition, but Hoffman also received a souvenir to take home. She said she's optimistic about how the space will be used in the future.
"Other new projects will help Covington grow and develop," Hoffman said.
Meyer said it will take a couple of years to get everything in place so the neighborhood can regrow.
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