COVINGTON, Ky. — From empty lots on Philadelphia Avenue to vacant property sold and being made into a coffee shop and bakery just six minutes away, the City of Covington is trying to sell and make the most out of land it owns, some of which has been available for years.
"We are working to get those back in the hands of the citizens, back in the tax rolls and the productive views," said Ken Smith, Covington's director of neighborhood services.
Smith says the city owns 160 parcels of land and it wants to reduce that number.
"These are assets the city has - they aren't generating tax revenue - and quite frankly our public works department has to come mow the yards and maintain the buildings,” Smith said, “so we're in essence losing money on every one of these lots every year that we own them."
If anyone is interested in an empty lot, they can call the city and request the lot. The city will review the request and ask what people plan to do with it.
"If we can get somebody to build a new home, it increases the tax roll and we don't have to maintain the property anymore. That's a real win for the citizens of Covington," Smith said.
Marlene Butler, who has lived in Covington all her life, was next-door neighbor to property that had been off the tax rolls for 13 years and was recently sold.
"It'll be good for the community, Butler said. “It makes the atmosphere look better. People are not so hesitant about buying property in the area. That makes my property values go up as well so it's a good thing all around."
The success of Covington’s efforts is keeping residents guessing what will happen with empty lots near them.
Desiree York, who lives on Philadelphia Avenue, had her own idea.
"I think it should be a park for kids, even though there's parks around here. Or a house,” she said.