The city of Covington will have several road closures around the square this summer as the events schedules ramps up along with the heat.
The square is hosting several events, including:
• a Memorial Day service, Monday
• a Salvation Army car show, June 9
• car show and county employee recognition ceremony, June 23
• the Independence in the Park event, July 4
In addition, there will be a road closure on Conyers Street when city officials host their second REACH Covington event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 15 at Baker Field, 1146 Conyers Street.
The events are designed to help residents better connect to their city officials, and elected officials and Covington employees from a wide array of city departments will be on hand to help residents find solutions to problems and answers for questions. REACH stands for Respond, Educate, Assist, Celebrate, Host.
Free hot dogs, soft drinks and cookies will be provided.
Former councilman John Howard to leave
Former city councilman John Howard and his wife are moving to a retirement community out of town, and the longtime elected official remained active in retirement, so he’s had to be replaced on several local committees.
The Covington City Council unanimously approved naming Ester Fleming Jr., a former county commissioner, to replace Howard on the Covington Municipal Airport Authority. Chris Smith made the motion to approve Fleming and said Fleming has lived here all his life, been an elected official for multiple terms and currently works as a real estate specialist for Gwinnett County’s government.
The airport authority is charged with overseeing the development of the Covington Municipal Airport.
Howard was a Covington councilman for 16 years.
Part of Avery Street to reopen?
Now that the city’s efforts to revitalize and redevelop the Walker’s Bend subdivision, located off Washington Street just southeast of the intersection with Turner Lake Road, city officials are wondering if it’s time for a second entrance to the area.
Avery Street is a side street off Washington Street that connects to two residential areas. However, several years ago, the road was blocked off at one point, separating Walker’s Bend, at Tew Lane, from Walnut Street north of it.
The road was blocked to reduce traffic on the road, which is very narrow in the Walker’s Bend subdivision, according to residents and officials.
However, the city and county are building a three-story mixed use building, the New Leaf Center, which will house major workforce development efforts.
The building, along with other future buildings, are located on Avery Street right at the entrance to Walker’s Bend. Police Chief Stacey Cotton said public safety officials like to have two entrances to neighborhoods whenever possible to make it easier and quicker to access areas in the case of fires and medical emergencies.
However, residents have the same concerns they did years ago, that too much traffic will use the road and it will be traveling faster than is safe. Residents say the road is particularly narrow at the area where it’s closed and it’s not safe for two-way traffic.
The city table any decision Monday, deciding to study the issue to look for a solution, including possibly making that portion of the road one-way or having it only be accessible to public safety vehicles.
Fiber cable deals
The Covington council approved two deals to run its fiber optic cable to two new locations.
The city will pay $25,000 to run cable to two of the Covington Housing Authority’s four properties on Jackson Highway and Turner Lake Road — the other two locations already have connections — and will then charge the authority $1,500 a month for those fiber connections for a four-year contract.
The fiber connections are part of a plan to install security cameras at the authority’s properties on Alcovy Road, Jackson Highway, Turner Lake Road and Fowler Court. The server for the camera system will be housed in the Covington Police Department, which will help monitor the areas along with the Covington Housing Authority, that will monitor it remotely.
The city will also pay between $1,100 to $1,500 to run cable to the Elm Street power substation, and will charge Georgia Public Web $125 a month for a five-year contract. The connection will allow power companies, including Covington’s power provider the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, to monitor the substation’s activity remotely and make any adjustments needed.
For example, the power to a line could be cut off remotely so a line worker could more quickly make repairs.
Help paying to get sewer service
For those Covington residents who currently have septic tanks but would like sewer service, the city is trying to help them get connected.
In addition to sewer tap fees, the city — and other providers — charge homeowners for the physical cost to extend sewer lines to a property.
The council approved the first reading of a new ordinance that would give residents more time to pay those costs.
When the cost of an extension is $2,400 or less the owner can pay the cost over a 24-month period. If the cost is greater than $2,400, the owner can pay the cost off over 36 months.
In addition to the cost, there will also be a monthly $3 administrative fee to cover the cost of mail and processing.