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Posted: June 21, 2012 8:12 p.m.

Support Main Street

We have a particularly beautiful and envied city square that's been alluring to the movie industry for years and has remained a solid economic base during the downturn. The square is truly the heart of the town, playing host to many parades, concerts and celebrations throughout the year and bringing the community together.

However, a square does not maintain and promote itself, and without dedicated stewards, a square can easily fall into disrepair and disuse. We're fortunate that our past city and county leaders recognized the value of the square and formed the Main Street Covington program to manage, promote and protect our square, including devoting part of the hotel/motel tax revenue to fund the program.

The majority of our elected officials continue to support the concept of having a strong square run by an independent Main Street board of directors.

For the past decade plus, Main Street has operated out of the same building that houses The Center for Community Preservation and Planning, a group that facilities discussion and planning between local governments, and is adjacent to the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center.

Planning, tourism and the square go hand in hand, which is why it made sense for these groups to be so close.

However, budget concerns caused the city to cut out the $5,400 rent line item for Main Street from next fiscal year's budget; Covington officials suggested the program move to an available space in the planning and zoning building on Stallings Street.

In this economy, saving taxpayers money is the right thing to do, and the Main Street board agreed with that sentiment and voted to follow the city's request.

Our concern is that this move might have been motivated by the personal agenda that two city council members have against Main Street Director Josephine Kelly.

The Main Street program has received numerous awards, and we believe the leadership of Main Street program has been more than satisfactory.

We would hate to see the Main Street program diminished in any way because of personal pettiness.

While it would be nice for Main Street to remain downtown, the more important issue is that the leadership of this county stays unified in its effort to make the downtown ever more prosperous. We believe Main Street is an important part of that process.

General Manager T. Pat Cavanaugh, a member of The News' editorial board, is also on the Main Street Board of Directors.

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