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Goodbye grungy green
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 Members of the Covington Lion's Club affectionately call their meeting place on Conyers Street - the Neal Banks Lion's Club Pavilion - "the grungy green building."

Lion's Club Second Vice President and Chairman of the building committee, Ed Minge, said the club needs donations to make badly needed repairs on the 60-plus-year-old, cinder block and wood building.

"We're going to turn this building into something respectable," Minge said.

The building was once an open air pavilion, which has since been boarded to form walls. Minge wants to install insulation, completely face the exterior of the building with vinyl siding, paint the outside a neutral color and resurface the interior floors.

He estimates the costs of the repairs to range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on how much raw material is donated. Flooring and Tile Superstore in Conyers has donated vinyl floor tile already.

The club's deadline to make changes on the building is Aug. 2.

Minge said the building committee originally wanted to face the exterior with brick, but that option proved too expensive.

"If somebody wants to give us some bricks," Minge said, "we'll certainly take them."

Eventually the committee would like to add two new bathrooms onto the building, purchase new tables and chairs and possibly create a fenced picnic area at the back of the building.

Those improvements could cost up to $40,000 by Minge's estimates.

He explained that Lion's Club policy does not allow members to dip into funds from other projects to pay for building maintenance and repair. He said he appreciates all the countless individuals and organizations which have previously donated to the community service projects they fund throughout the year, and asked them to help the club continue to have a permanent headquarters.

In February the club hosts a chili supper, in April a chicken barbeque and in October a barbeque cook-off called "Sherman's Last Burning" to raise money for the numerous civic projects they organize and manage.

Historically, the Lion's Club has worked to end preventable blindness, but has over the year branched out into other areas of community service.

"In all reality people don't want to join a club for just one thing," Minge said.

The club still provides for the blind through sponsoring a recreational and educational experience at the Georgia Lion's Camp for the Blind, providing vision and hearing services for those who cannot afford them through the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation, helping the blind become more mobile through the Leader Dogs of the Blind program and publicizing the needs of the visually impaired on White Cane Safety Day on Oct. 15.

Drives to collect old cell phones, hearing aids and glasses in order to refurbish them and give to them to those in need are ongoing projects for the club.

The annual Covington Christmas Parade is facilitated by the club also.

Minge said new members are always welcome. Dues are $35 a quarter, which includes two dinners a month.

"Lion's is not an organization that requires you to come," Minge said. "We like you to come, but we have some members who just help with certain projects."