A conference focusing on reviving historic districts is coming to Covington this week.
The National Main Street Program uses public and private money to help urban and rural communities create redevelopment plans that re-engage people in downtown areas while also preserving historic buildings.
The organization started 40 years ago when people started leaving city centers in favor of the suburbs. Kentucky is one of many states across the nation who participate.
More than $4.5 billion has been invested in various communities throughout the Commonwealth, according to the Kentucky Heritage Council.
"The best thing about Main Street is that it's grassroots," Kentucky Main Street Program Director Kitty Dougoud said during a recent Cincinnati Edition. "It actually allows people in the community to be involved in creating change."
The goal of the program is to make that change within existing infrastructure. Local governments control and fund investments with guidance from the Heritage Council.
Cities like Covington are thinking of redevelopment plans to attract residents on the outskirts to the city's core.
"I think that one of the things Covington will have to do to sustain is increase our level of downtown residents," said Nick Wade, the executive director at Renaissance Covington.
He believes residential development will help small businesses in his community thrive.
The three-day conference begins April 23 at Hotel Covington and is open to the public. The conference will focus on various themes, including diversity and inclusion, rural vibrancy and environmental sustainability.