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Posted: February 21, 2010 12:30 a.m.

City receives engineering grant for Pace Street

The City of Covington received a $160,000 federal grant this week to move forward on the Pace Street Liveable Communities Initiative streetscape project.

Along with a $40,000 city match, the combined total of $200,000 will pay for an engineering concept study, which is the preliminary construction document for the city, said city Planning Director Randy Vinson.

The project is along Pace Street from Clark Street north to U.S. Highway 278 and aims to make that central corridor into downtown Covington more beautiful and pedestrian friendly. The project calls for pedestrian refuge islands, bicycle lanes, a median, traffic calming elements, consistent sidewalks, a signalized intersection, crosswalks, pedestrian signage, lighting, benches and landscaping.

Vinson said this grant makes it likely that Covington

will receive an additional $1.6 million in stimulus money in fiscal year 2012 to actually build the improvements. The city would have to contribute about a $400,000 match.

Airport Authority

The Covington Municipal Airport Authority continues to move closer to reality as the state bill that would create the authority, Senate Bill 376, was passed in a unanimous vote by the senate this week.

Sen. John Douglas (R-Social Circle) introduced the bill after the Covington City Council voted to approve the formation of an authority earlier this year. Authorities can only be created by the state legislature. The bill is expected to be passed by the house sometime over the next two weeks.

Rusty Anglin, manager of Atlanta East Aviation, which runs the Covington airport, and Lance Flynn, chairman of the Covington Airport Advisory Committee, both said they approve the formation of the authority.

"An authority can dedicate itself to improving and growing our airport, and the authority will have the capability to start and manage projects to facilitate that growth," Flynn said in an e-mail. "In my opinion a thriving municipal airport is attractive to both businesses and travelers, so the creation of this authority will benefit both the airport's direct users and the community as a whole."

Emory Geiger is the chairman of the Gwinnett County Airport Authority and also owns a hangar at the Covington Municipal Airport. While he supports authorities, he said previously that the wording of the current legislation takes away most power from the city council.

"It seems that the document as drawn conveys full powers and duties to the authority and, in and of itself, leaves little oversight to the mayor and city council (with the single exception of resolving conflicts of interest with authority members)," he said in a January e-mail.

To read the bill, go to legis.ga.gov and search for SB 376. To read background information on the powers and abilities of an authority search the covnews.com archives.

To Save a Life

On Monday, the Covington City Council approved the purchase of 15 external defibrillators for the Covington Police Department; 14 to be installed in police cars and one in the police department headquarters. The hope is that the defibrillators will help save lives if a police officer is the first to arrive at a scene, City Manager Steve Horton said.

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