Free wireless internet access is now available on the square, courtesy of the city of Covington, as officials hope to provide a boost to business and activity in the area.
The service went live Friday, and the city will boost the signal in certain areas to make sure it can reach into area restaurants like Amici, which would presumably benefit from the free service. The entire cost of the project is expected to be around $25,000.
The city is placing lights on the square which are turned on at night as a test. Lights have been placed on the trees on the square, but Baggett said she thought they should be put on a timer so as not to promote late night activity. She said during her nine years living on the square she has seen marijuana smoked, nudity, skateboarding, drunk people hanging around the flagpole, car and foot chases and alarms being set off for no reason.
City Manager Steve Horton said the lights were requested by the downtown business council.
Cemetery pricing set
The Covington City Council voted Monday to set the price for gravesites at the city's Southview Cemetery at $1,000 a piece. The cemetery is located behind Conyers Street Gym.
Resident Billy Fortson donated some of his land, which adjoins the cemetery, to the city and 24 gravesites are expected to be available to the public soon. The city already has a waiting list of about 20 residents, so most of the new gravesites are already accounted for. However, additional gravesites are expected to come available on the portion of the cemetery at the southern end of East Street.
Senior citizen utility discount
Mayor Ronnie Johnston has proposed giving senior citizens a discount on their electric and gas rates, but the council hasn't yet decided whether the discount will be implemented.
The discount would reduce the base monthly rate for electric and gas by 50 percent, and save senior citizens - customers older than 65 - around $122 per year. The city would lose about $161,840 in revenue. Approximately 13.8 percent of Covington customers are older than 65.
Scary Saturday preacher
Resident Fleeta Baggett, who lives above Scoops, went to the council Monday seeking aid in restoring peace to her Saturday afternoons.
Baggett said a fire-and-brimstone preacher is constantly screaming Saturday on the square between 3 and 5 p.m. and Baggett can hear all of it from her apartment. In addition, she said people are also driven away from the square, not wanting to sit on the area benches or visit local businesses because of the yelling and sometimes aggressive nature of the preacher.
Baggett was told she could file a public nuisance complaint, and the Covington Municipal Court would decide whether the preacher's speaking amounted to terroristic threats.
However, before that step is taken, Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton said he would talk to the man. The preacher gets a permit for an assembly and Cotton said he has been cooperative and willing to make changes in the past.