COVINGTON, Ga. – Spillers Park, located in the West Ward of Covington, has been the topic of recent debate after District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson shared a Facebook Live video chastising the city for the park’s condition and Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston responded in a public meeting.
Since then, questions have popped up over the park's ownership and which government entity really holds the responsibility for its maintenance.
Who owns Spillers Park?
Located at 9134 Jefferson Ave. in Covington, Spillers Park is listed as a “one of our traditional neighborhood parks designed for children under the age of 12,” on the Newton County Recreation website.
According to the Newton County Assessor’s Office website, the park’s property is owned by the City of Covington and according to the property deed, provided to The Covington News by Henderson, Spillers Park was sold to the city March 22, 1962 by Otis Spillers, of Spillers Lumber Company.
“My understanding is that the city owns the underlying property, which the developer was required to set aside as a park and deeded to the city in the 60s or 70s,” City Attorney Frank Turner said in an email to The News. “However, the rec. commission has maintained the park since the 1980s and installed the existing improvements.”
Candidates head to the park
The recent Spillers Park conversation started with a Facebook Live video published to Henderson’s personal page March 30.
Since then, his opposition, District 4 Republican Candidate Spencer Arnhart, rallied a group of volunteers Monday afternoon to go to the park make improvements. The volunteers spread the mulch piles that had been previously delivered to the park and repaired swings and other equipment.
Later Monday evening, Henderson reached back out to Facebook to make comments about the work done. In the second Facebook Live video, Henderson said the mulch is not the appropriate kind for a playground. He also raises concerns about the dirty playground equipment.
The Covington News will continue to update this story as information becomes available.