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Covington family business doesn't want to be uprooted by development on IRS site

Posted at 12:39 AM, Jul 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-13 00:46:21-04

COVINGTON, Ky. — It was news to Roger Reder. His family business has been located near the IRS site in Covington for more than 50 years.

But with the IRS closing operations there by mid-September, Reder suddenly found he may be in the way of the city's plans to buy the 23-acre site and turn it into a mixed-use development with retail, residential and office space.

“No, nobody's mentioned it to us,” Reder told WCPO Friday.

About 100 people packed City Hall Thursday night to get a briefing about the city’s three proposals and the opportunity to provide feedback.

SEE the proposals in the presentation pdf.

At least one proposal for the site calls for expansion along Johnson Street, where Reder and his brother have run their manufacturing plant, D.C. Morrison, for decades.

“We might be right in the way,” Reder said after learning about the plan. “Maybe they can go over us.”

Reder told WCPO he has no interest in going anywhere.

“We're really happy here,” Reder said. “We got a great family business. We’ve been going since the early 60s.

“All the businesses, everybody knows where we are. They come over and bring their work to us. We'd rather not move and go through all of that again,” Reder said. “It would be tough.”

Other businesses might be affected, too, since all of the city’s proposals include future expansion along the perimeter of the IRS site.

Depending on which one is approved, a handful of businesses may be forced to go elsewhere.

Children Inc, a non-profit day care on Madison right across the street, doesn’t fall in the city’s footprint for development – yet.

Jordan Huizenga hopes it stays that way.

“You know development can change month to month, week to week and year to year,” said Huizenga, senior director of development for Children Inc.

Huizenga said the non-profit provides quality day care to low-income families.

“We are excited about Covington's continue to growth and development and we are excited to be a critical partner,” Huizenga said.

Whatever happens, Huizenga said Children Inc. is committed to Covington.

“Our headquarters is going to remain in Covington and Northern Kentucky whether it’s here at the corner of Fourth and Madison with our beautiful statues of kids on the street and a lot of people know us, or if it's across the street or down the block,” he said.

At Thursday's meeting, residents expressed concerns about parking and added traffic and noise. The city is still looking for input from the community.

No one from Covington was available to speak with WCPO Friday afternoon to give a timeline on when they will start implementing this plan.