In 2014, The Center received a $1.45 million grant from The Kresge Foundation to support work that was completed between 2014 and 2017. The grant was used not only to fund the transformation of the Hellmann Lumber Mill into the Hellmann Creative Center (The Center’s home in the city’s historic Westside neighborhood) but also several Creative Placemaking programs such as Homes for Makers, Creative Facades, Creative Community Grants, and Nano Grants.
The funding period has recently come to a close, and the final results have been compiled. The impact the funding has empowered The Center to have on the Covington community, primarily the Westside neighborhood, has been astounding!
Homes for Makers (Covington Westside)
Goal: Assist makers and artists in securing acquisitions/rehabilitation loans and increase occupancy rate in the Westside by 10%
Results: Occupancy increased by 30%, and 69% of the homes sold were sold to makers (artists, craftsman, etc.) of some kind.
Creative Facades (Covington Westside)
Goal: Improve 21 facades and raise each homeowner’s property value by 30%
Results: 16 completed facades. Completed home values increased by an average of 194% (some homes received interior renovations as well). Homes that just received exterior renovations through the Creative Facade program increased in value by an average of 102%.
Creative Community Grant and Nano Grant programs (Covington inclusive)
Goal: Build a dense, sustainable network of resources for artists and makers
Results: 116 grants totaling $165,590 were awarded to makers and community members for a wide range of projects. Highlights include an art walk for visually impaired, the Goebel Goats, murals and art installations, and much more.
Rehabilitation of Hellmann Lumber Mill & Activation of MLK Corridor (Covington Westside)
Goal: Activate MLK Corridor by bringing six new independent businesses to MLK
Results: 15 new businesses opened along the MLK corridor as of summer 2017.
Each of these projects have seen great success, and comparisons of attitudinal surveys from 2014 and 2017 show significant improvement in the perception of the Westside neighborhood:
Perhaps most telling is the data in these tables, comparing three groups: those who feel involved in the Westside, feel involved elsewhere in Covington, and don’t feel involved in the city:
The Center is pleased to announce that the Kresge Foundation has funded them for another three years of Creative Placemaking work both at the Hellmann Creative Center and throughout Covington. The Center’s Executive Director Tom DiBello says: “Kresge’s support has allowed The Center to elevate its focus on neighborhoods and creativity to a national level. We’ve been able to share our approach to resident-leadership and our belief that using everyone’s gifts and talents helps set the tone for truly sustainable community development. We look forward to continuing more innovative projects ”