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Public input sought on house plan

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Covington Redevelopment Authority is seeking participants in focus groups that will advise on the marketing of Walker's Bend, the site of the city's housing revitalization program.

E-mails requesting volunteers have been sent to businesses and industries, churches and local governments, but only four people were expected to participate in the first focus group held Monday, according to Planning Director Randy Vinson.

"We were hoping to get 40. We knew we'd have to target 400 to get 40. Unfortunately, we only got four. We'll take whatever we can get. Hopefully, these are folks that are interested in the housing market so we'll have an accurate idea of what folks are looking for right now," Vinson said. "We also want to determine if smaller houses are going to be palatable to them so we know how to target our marketing campaign."

Current plans for Walker's Bend call for some homes to be built at less than 700 square feet.

"We're going to show them images of smaller homes to determine if it's a turnoff to them and find out what would attract them to a home," Vinson said. "Do utility costs influence their decision or not? If they knew they could save $200 more in utility bills would that affect their decision on a smaller house -- would you be willing to give up space?"

The Covington Redevelopment Authority plans to partner with local home builders to build new homes in the subdivision. Down payment assistance is available for homeowners. Another focus group will be held at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Covington Planning and Zoning office. Participants must fill out a form in advance and can pick those up at the Planning and Zoning office, located behind City Hall.

The marketing campaign for Walker's Bend is planned to begin early next year.