Historic Preservation

Covington is a 200+ year old city with fascinating historic buildings that are often repurposed for sensitive adaptation and reuse.
The Historic Preservation Office protects that history as it is shown through the built environment and educates the community about it too.

With 17 National Registered Historic Districts and the second highest number of properties listed in the National Register of Historic places in Kentucky, there is a deep appreciation and celebration of preservation of historic buildings, monuments, neighborhoods, public squares, and landscapes. They remind us of what previous generations built and inspire us to continue to create good places now and for future generations.

Codes & Guidelines

Historic Preservation Overlay Zones

The seven Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO) Zones, defined in the Neighborhood Development Code, are designated areas to preserve because of their unique architectural style, scale, and details or because of being a part of a square, park, or area of cultural, historical, or architectural importance to the city. Not to be confused with the National Register of Historic Districts, the HPOs are adopted by ordinance and include enforcement of compliance with the Historic Covington Design Guidelines.

Certificate of Appropriateness

A Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) is required before any exterior alteration or tree removal within a Historic Preservation Overlay or within the 12th Street Corridor Redevelopment Plan. (Note: For efficiency, the Certificate of Appropriateness and Zoning application are the same document.)

Historic Covington
Design Guidelines

For property owners, residents, and contractors, it provides guidance and rules to follow as they are planning projects for their buildings and properties within the Historic Preservation Overlays (HPOs) and other designated Development Areas. These guidelines encourage projects that are sympathetic to the architecture and character of historic buildings and neighborhoods.

For the Board of Architectural Review and Development (BOARD) members and staff, it offers a basis for evaluating proposed changes. Changes to buildings need to be evaluated on an individual basis due to sometimes unique architecture or circumstances.

Overall, the purpose of these guidelines is to promote the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the community.

Covington Preservation Excellence Award Program

The Covington Preservation Excellence Award Program recognizes outstanding contributions to historic preservation completed throughout the calendar year. Awards will be presented each year during National Preservation month in May. Five project categories are:

  1. Exterior Restoration-Residential
  2. Exterior Restoration Mixed Use/Commercial
  3. Adaptive Re-use Residential
  4. Adaptive Re-use Mixed-Use Commercial
  5. Interior Design
2024 Preservation Excellence Award Program Winners

Interior Restoration:

Exterior Restoration -- Residential:

Adaptive Re-Use -- Residential:

Adaptive Re-Use -- Commercial:

Preservation Stewardship:

Lesley and Victor Hugo for the renovation of Junipers Gin Bar, 409 W. 6th St., (The John R. Green Building).

Covert Design & Build for the renovation of 318 Berry St.

Christine Wesdorp for the renovation of 330 Pike St.

vR Group for North by Hotel Covington.

 Rob Detzel for The Futuro House, 224 Wright St.

2023 Preservation Excellence Award Program Winners

Interior Restoration:

Exterior Restoration -- Residential:

Adaptive Re-Use -- Residential:

Exterior Restoration -- Commercial:

Adaptive Re-Use -- Commercial:

The House of Beauty at 611 Madison Ave. (Dina Deller).

Covert Design & Build at 256-258 West 8th St. (Tom Covert).

Bradley House at 627 Greenup St. (Orleans Development).

Monarch Auto Company Building at 722 Scott St., (Hub+Weber Architects).

Monarch Building at 109 East 4th St. (Allen Haehnle).

2023 Victor J. Canfield Preservation Stewardship Award

The Victor J. Canfield Preservation Stewardship Award – given for the first time – is named after Vic Canfield, who restored historic properties in Covington and served on the City’s then-named Urban Design Review Board for 37 years, including as its chair for 25 years.

The winners were Jim and Donna Salyers of The Salyers Group and Guy van Rooyen of The Salyers Group and vR Group.

“These individuals have gone above and beyond to protect what makes Covington unique and special,” Mayor Joe Meyer said. “They have painstakingly restored historic buildings – and they have done so in a way that preserves their features for future generations. They see Covington’s outstanding history and architecture not as burdens but as significant advantages in the area of economic development.”

Among the projects completed by the Salyers and van Rooyen:

  • The Madison Event Center (700 Madison), which “preserved the charm of a former Woolworth Store and turned it into one of the most popular wedding venues in the tri-state.”
  • First District (525 Scott), which “converted a WPA-era school into Class A office space.”
  • Hotel Covington (638 Madison), which “converted a former department store (Coppins) into a remarkable and highly successful boutique hotel.”
  • North by Hotel Covington (Pike & Madison), which “converted the former YMCA building into a truly exquisite expansion of the hotel.”

Covington Academy
of Heritage Trades

Covington is partnering with BIA’s Enzweiler Building Institute to create a skilled workforce for the historic trades. This translates into jobs for citizens and rehab assistance for property owners of historic homes. Targeted to open in 2023.


Board of Architectural Review and Development (BOARD)

Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program

Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credits: What, Why, and How Video

Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program

We are ready to assist!


Kaitlin Bryan

Regulatory Services Manager & Historic Preservation Specialist