People bought up the old downtown buildings and began renovating them. Specialty shops began moving into the vacant storefronts. Professionals began buying up the old office spaces, fixing them up, painting them, and in some cases adding architectural flourishes. Covington was being re-born. It was a difficult process to begin, and it is still ongoing today.
Here is an article I wrote about those original efforts to turn the downtown around. Click on the image to make it larger.
Covington Downtown Photographs in 1982
Downtown Covington in the early 1970's
Downtown Covington 2018