The City of Covington City Council met Monday for its 2017 council retreat. The meeting, held at Covington fire station 22 on Alcovy Road was a day-long affair attended by the city council, mayor, city manager and various city employees.
“The goal of the retreat was to take some measurable items out of the meeting,” Councilman Josh McKelvey said. “We need to clearly state our goals as a council and be able to articulate those and achieve them.”
Addressing everything from poverty to tourism, the day was highlighted by discussions on the following:
A 100-acre tract located in the heart of the southern quadrant of the city could be transformed into a park complete with walking and biking trails, a dog park, playground, disc golf, event space and a section for approximately 80 residential homes.
“There are a lot of opportunities within this project,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “This could be a huge tourism draw and something that citizens would enjoy using and be proud of.”
A main city sewer line currently in need of upgrading runs through the potential Parker’s Pasture project. Cost estimates for the sewer line are currently being calculated and once that estimate is complete a timeline for the beginning phases of Parker’s Pasture can be created.
The council expressed interest in providing a small scale public transportation system. Prices are being researched for a 15-passenger handicap accessible van that would run set routes throughout the city taking people to locations like drug stores, medical offices and grocery stores. The cost of operating the van may be offset by a small ridership fee.
“We have people in our community that could really use this service,” Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said. “When you stop and put yourself in others shoes it makes you think about things differently.”
The council discussed extending the sidewalks from the Turner Lake roundabout to Washington Street. Work was just completed on the first phase of the project which connected Highway 278 to the Turner Lake roundabout. Other areas were also discussed to explore the addition of sidewalks and bicycle lanes. These lanes continue working towards the city’s goal of connectivity.
McKelvey asked city staff to think about creating a business incubator, a public facility used by businesses in their infancy to make some small business functions easier.
“The thought is that if a small business has a place to use high speed internet, a meeting room or something similar, they will become successful and stay in your community, hiring locals and adding to the tax digest,” McKelvey said.
Expenses for the facility could come from a small usage fee, sponsorship from other businesses or partially through the city.
“We have a real love for the city,” Williams said. “The priority of our actions are our citizens and we work hard to keep that in mind.”