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Future of the Mike Fink Unknown

COVINGTON, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- The Covington riverfront looks a little naked Tuesday. 

The Mike Fink Restaurant, that had sat empty for five years, finally packed up and moved from the spot it had held since the 1960's.

"I think it looks much better without the Mike Fink,"  Hannah Terry said as she walked her sheltie, Roo, along Riverside Drive.

"I think it was a little rundown.  It looks cleaner, neater now." 

The 77-year-old stern wheeler was a thriving restaurant until 2008 when it was hauled upriver and given a new hull.  A planned interior renovation on its return never happened.  Despite several plans to reopen, it stayed closed.

The city of Covington gave the owners until the first of this year to vacate.  Weather and river conditions postponed that.  Monday afternoon, Captain Alan Bernstein took the towboat Shirley B and pushed the Mike Fink to its temporary location at BB Riverboats.  Bernstein's father Ben bought the Mike Fink in 1977.

"Well, it was sad.  The boat's been there since the middle '60's," Bernstein said Tuesday morning.  "It's just another chapter in the life of the Mike Fink."

On Tuesday crews secured the Mike Fink to the floating BB Riverboats complex in Newport.  Once power is restored, they will clean it and assess its future.  Bernstein says there are three viable options:

1. Return to Covington as a restaurant

2.Become office space for the BB Riverboats operation

3. Move upriver as part of the Newport on the Levee Complex.

The city of Covington says the door is open for the Mike Fink to return.  That would require a new lease and extensive work on the river bank.   Converting it to offices would allow BB to get rid of some existing barges including the old Crockett's location. 

Bernstein says the Levee option is the least likely of the three.




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