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City approves road closures around Square

All or part of the Downtown Square will be closed for upcoming events ranging from a riding club’s cruise to a agricultural event. The closures were approved at the Covington City Council meeting Monday night.

Approval was given to the Southern Cruisers Riding Club to close the Square plus one block beyond for the club’s fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital on Saturday, April 10.

The inner circle and inner parking area of the Square will be closed for the Newton County Farm Bureau’s Ag Day and Tractor Show on Saturday, April 16.

The Covington Firefighters’ Memorial Trust Firehouse 5K run/walk on Saturday, May 21, will begin and end at the Conyers Street gym, 1146 Conyers Street Southeast. Partial road closures of Hendricks St. Northwest, Clark Street Northwest around the Square to College Avenue Southeast, Elm Street Northeast, Lynda Sue Lane, Williams Street Northeast, Anderson Avenue Northeast, Newton Drive North East, Floyd Street Northeast, Dearing Street Northeast and Indie Circle South before returning to Conyers Street Southeast.

Approval was also given for the partial closing of Church Street, Monday, March 7, through Friday, March 11, for the installation of a balcony at the new Irish Bred Pub. The work is mostly being done between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Skateboard Park

In his remarks at the end of the meeting, Mayor Ronnie Johnston addressed a topic brought up at the March 5 East Ward Town Hall meeting. A resident had expressed concerns about youth looking for places to use their skateboards.

“It was a great question,” Johnston said, “but it bothered me. I’ve got four kids. My oldest is 27, my youngest 18. I remember them growing up and how frustrating it was to get them to go outside. And here we have kids who want to be outside.

“We do have plans to build a skate park in Parker Pasture, but that’s a long-term goal,” he said, adding that the park was four or more years away from being built.

“I’m working with the two Covington bike shops [Bike World and Square Bike] and several [other] people about coming up with ideas and with putting in a mobile temporary skate park,” he said. “I think it’s something worthwhile. Several communities have addressed this to give the kids a place to hang out.”

Change of time

Monday night was the last time the regular meeting of the city council began at 6:30 p.m. Approval of an ordinance changed the start time to 6 p.m.

In the past, a work session preceded each council meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. Often the work session only lasted 5 to 10 minutes, leaving a 20-minute break before the regular meeting could start. The new ordinance allows the council to put the work session as the first item on the regular meeting agenda.

In other business, the city:

  • Approved a request from the Housing Authority of Covington for permission to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to address drainage issues at Turner and Alcovy roads. The council will also draft a letter in support of the application. The Housing Authority is financially responsible for the 5 percent match required for the CDBG grant.
  • Approved a contract with VeriStor in Duluth for a data storage array in the amount of $24,748;
  • Approved a three-year contract with IBM for service on the E911-CAD Server, the emergency dispatch system, at $14,662 per year;
  • Accepted bids from five electrical supply companies for setting prices for items used throughout the year by the city. The suppliers were Newton Electric for 62 items; Voss Lighting, 14 items; City Electric, 98 items; LED Lighting Wholesale, Inc., 4 items; and STSC Enterprise Solutions, 3 items. Because there was a tie bid between Newton Electric and City Electric on 7 items, the city could use either vendor. The per item prices are good for a year. Council member Smith, who is president of Newton Electric Supply, recused himself from the vote.
  • Accepted the bid of Anderson Grading and Pipeline for $1,983,245 to complete the second of the four phase Drinking Water State Revolving Fund water main project. The complete project is estimated to cost $4.5 million.
  • Granted Dollar General’s off-premise consumption alcohol licenses for three Covington stores: 6185 Highway 278 Northwest, 7118 Highway 278 Northeast and 10734 Highway 36. 
  • Set budget work sessions for Thursday, May 5; Monday, May 9; Tuesday, May 10; Tuesday, May 17; and Thursday, May 19.