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City of Covington awarded 2024 Visionary City Award

The city of Covington has received the 2024 Visionary City Award from the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine. This prestigious award recognizes Covington’s outstanding community engagement efforts and initiatives that have greatly contributed to the city's vibrant cultural landscape and inclusive community spirit. 

Selected in the Medium Cities Category, Covington's achievements include a range of community events and programs that celebrate diversity and inclusivity, such as the popular Cinco de Mayo celebration, the Juneteenth parade, and a special Black History Month exhibit. These initiatives reflect Covington's commitment to maintaining its small-town charm while adapting to growth and increased tourism.

Larry Hanson, CEO and Executive Director of GMA, said, “The Visionary City Awards honor cities like Covington that effectively blend community engagement with cultural celebration. Covington’s efforts exemplify how cities can maintain their unique character while fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.” 

Community Development Director Ken Malcom accepted the award at the GMA’s Cities United Summit held in Atlanta. 

“I was so honored to represent my outstanding team and the entire city of Covington family by accepting the 2024 Visionary City Award from the Georgia Municipal Association and Georgia Trend Magazine. Recognizing the growing changes to the City, elected officials and city management sought to develop a long-term comprehensive plan for Covington for the next five years,” Malcom said. “As part of this plan developed in 2022, two goals for the city’s Community Development Department, which was formed in 2020, were ‘encourage citizen participation in all government activities, events, and initiatives’ and ‘celebrate the entire community by embracing diversity and inclusion.’ Formed out of a desire to continue the revival of the town square and promote community engagement, the department took this goal as a challenge and greatly exceeded expectations. In the previous year of 2022, the city hosted 43 community participatory events for citizens. In 2023, that number increased to 78. In the span of one calendar year, the department saw an 81 percent increase in activities largely due to the investment of our Mayor and Council, our community partnerships, and the dedication of our Community Development team members. The 2023 Lighting of the Square, a project with our community partner The Arts Association of Newton County, saw a record crowd of 19,000 people. It is estimated that 70 percent of the attendees were local. These events were designed to reach the entire community. By working with local stakeholders to develop programs for minority community members including Hispanic and Black cultural heritage events as well as expanding activities such as the Farmer’s Market and Summer Concert Series, we continue to grow the scope of our reach and inclusivity. Whether it is enjoying glow-golf on our town square or taking in a concert at Legion Field, we are proud that Covington is an incredible place to find your community.” 

Mayor Fleeta Baggett shared her thoughts on the city receiving this recognition. 

“We are fortunate to have a Community Development team that has focused on events that foster a sense of community, family and inclusion. The efforts of our city to organize these community programs and events has been driven primarily from the resources provided through our thriving tourism,” Baggett said. “These events allow the city of Covington to maintain our small town feel as we continue to grow and welcome new residents and guests. With the continued support of our local citizens, businesses and guests, we will continue to expand these wonderful programs in the future.”