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City accepts $594K grant for bridge
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The city of Covington council approved at their Nov. 5 meeting to accept a joint grant with the city of Oxford for $594,000 that was awarded by the Atlanta Regional Commission under their Last Mile Connectivity program for the replacement of a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Interstate 20 in October.

City of Covington grant writer Randy Conner previously said the grant is additional funding for the Emory Street pedestrian bridge between Covington and Oxford. He explained why Covington and Oxford decided to apply for the grant together.

"The reason that the city of Oxford and the city of Covington went in together was because the minimum amount was $500,000," he said. "Neither one of us needed that much money, but we needed more than the $500,000 collectively.

So we choose to go in together and present a joint application since the two projects joined together there at the interstate."

Conner said the process of getting funding for the pedestrian bridge and beginning construction on the project will take a while. He said it would take a minimum of 18 months just to obtain the permits for the bridge.

Oxford mayor Jerry Roseberry previously said he believed the city of Oxford would approve accepting the grant. He said the pedestrian bridge is much needed in Oxford being that a lot of students at Oxford College and citizens in the area travel by foot and on a bicycle to Covington to eat at restaurants and shop at retail businesses.

"A lot of the residents of Oxford go into Covington, particularly the students who are on campus at Oxford College.

They don't have transportation other than to walk. It'll be great for them," Roseberry said.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a sole bid from TAG Grinding Services in the amount of $18.30 per ton to grind and haul yard debris at the city's recycling center.

According to a letter from public works director Billy Bouchillon, the city received a bid from the company to grind and haul away the yard debris that is stored at the recycling center on Turner Street. Bouchillon said TAG Grinding has been chosen to do the cities grinding work numerous times in the past and have always been very professional and fair.

City Manager Steve Horton said grinding the yard debris at the recycling center would meet the Environmental Protection Division's regulations.

"They prefer recycling and reuse. This is a reuse operation because as I understand it, they'll grind the debris and haul it to an incinerator type thing," Horton said.

The city received a notice of violation from the Environmental Protection Division after a mulch fire at the recycling center on July 2 caused a number of environmental problems.

Bouchillon previously said the city would now have to inform EPD that they will handle the process of turning yard debris into mulch a different way.

Horton said the grinding and hauling of yard debris would be done several times a year. Mayor Ronnie Johnston explained that grinding and hauling off yard debris has been a process over the last several months after the fire at the recycling center.

"Obviously we had the situation in this area earlier in the year with the fire," Johnston said. "We spent a lot of money getting caught back up."

According to Finance Director Leigh Anne Knight, the city has spent $76,855.00 for the waste removal.