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Arts, Culture and Raising a Family in the #Cov

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(Gensler and her husband, Matt Butler)

After 7 years in the suburbs, my family made the decision to move back to Covington in 2009—just in time for kids numbers 3 and 4 to be born in February, 2010. Raising our kids close to Devou Park, closer to both the Covington city center and, yes, downtown Cincinnati, were all deciding factors. It was the best decision we could have made.

Our hope for our children is to raise adults that know who they are and are comfortable in their place in the global world as well as their local community. Covington has a very multicultural and diverse population. While I would never advocate food as the primary way to get to know other cultures, it is a good starting point for children, especially kids who take their food as seriously as my bunch. A short walk down Madison Avenue offers Guatemalan, Mexican (Taqueria San Miguel), Korean (Riverside Café), Chinese (Kung Food Chu’s Amerasia), and Japanese (Wabi Sabi) restaurants, with a Persian restaurant (House of Grill) around the corner. We love the options in Covington for local foods, including Otto’s, Bouquet, Coppin’s Restaurant and Bar at the Hotel Covington, and the Gruff—especially as a source of Colonel’s Creamery Ice Cream. Add in Wunderbar, Commonwealth, and Frida’s and it is easy to Covington is a veritable explosion of excellent dining, all small businesses owned locally. And we love nothing more than frequenting Covington’s tri-seasonal Farmer’s market for whatever happens to be in season on a given week. Living in Covington ensures that when we need a last-minute dinner after a busy day, we have options aplenty that don’t involve chain restaurants or fast food, and we always have an interesting meal.

We are hoping to share with our kids our value of the Arts, especially as a tool for making our community come together and a way of expressing thoughts and feelings that can’t always make their way into words. If you haven’t checked out the Carnegie’s galleries and theater performances, you are missing out on something special. AND…downtown Covington offers art classes and camps in so many different mediums at the Baker Hunt Foundation for all ages. As far as public art, my family loves to walk around and observe the growing number of murals around Covington. We love the Art-oriented festivals sponsored by Renaissance Covington, like Art off Pike and the Night Market. Last summer’s Curb’d interactive parklets made Covington an interesting and unique place to be in the Greater Cincinnati area and we visited them again and again. It is Covington’s willingness to take risks like Curb’d which make the city such an interesting place.

We hope as our kids grow into young adults, they will continue to be readers, both of the fantasy literature they love, and readers about the broader world. No writing on Covington and kids would be complete without mentioning just how amazing the librarians at the Covington branch of the Kenton County Library are in helping foster a love of (and obsession with) reading.

Finally, we are nature lovers and hope to share our love and respect for our environment and planet (and beyond) with as many people as we can. Covington has miles and miles of recreational trails for hiking and biking in Devou Park. The Behringer-Crawford Museum installed NaturePlay@BCM on its property in Devou Park, which takes the Museum’s STEAM-learning principles outside in a safe and ADA-accessible place for all kids to interact with nature. We were proud to be a part of its installation and visit this natural playspace ALL THE TIME.

On top of the parks it has, Covington is a place willing to do the hard work of assessing how to make itself better and pulling together to work towards that goal. We can’t wait to see what the Riverfront Commons Project will bring to our park landscape in the next few years. It is investments like this for all of our residents and visitors, that help make Covington the special-family friendly place it is. Come visit!

Rebekah married Matt Butler, of Park Hills, KY in her hometown of Huntington, WV in 2000. They are happily raising their 4 children in Covington, KY. Their core values of diversity and inclusion, as well as treating all people with compassion and dignity, guide their commitment to their community.