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Covington commits $1 million to pave Cricket Frog Trail
City enters into contract with PATH Foundation to facilitate construction, design
Cricket Frog Trail

COVINGTON, Ga. — The City of Covington is putting $1 million towards paving the Cricket Frog Trail.

During its meeting Monday, the Covington City Council voted unanimously to dish out the funds to pave the trail, which should take about six months, City Manager Scott Andrews said.

“If it takes longer than six months, I’d be disappointed,” he said during the Zoom meeting.

Newton Trails holds a long-term lease on approximately 15 miles of the former Norfolk Southern Railroad right-of-way, including an approximate 3.6-mile portion (the Cricket Frog Trail) which runs through Covington. A standing agreement between the city and Newton Trails allows the city to develop, build and maintain a multi-use trail on the old rail bed. 

“I identified the Cricket Frog Trail as a key component for community development the first time I visited Covington, and I actually spoke of its importance when I interviewed with the mayor and council for the city manager position,” Andrews said in a statement. “The trail acts not only as a source of exercise and transportation for some, but it is an economic driver for the city as well as the county. It is an extremely important piece of the puzzle we are assembling.”

Paving will begin at Emory Street, across from Covington City Hall, and proceed west to Spillers Drive near Washington Street. Once that portion is complete, the trail from Conyers Street to Eagle Drive will be paved. The city plans to pour concrete five inches thick and 12 feet wide, per Newton Trails' standard specifications, Andrews said.

Monday, the city entered into an executive services contract with the Atlanta based PATH Foundation to help facilitate the construction, design and engineering of the trail. The PATH Foundation will also complete the structural engineering for the railroad trestle located behind city hall. 

The city is currently soliciting bids to begin clearing brush on the portion of the trail set to be paved, Andrews said. The city’s concrete contractor, Peachtree Construction, will pour the concrete and will be funded by the 2011 TSPLOST.

Newton Trails has funds from two grants, as well as donors, to contribute toward renovation and paving the trestle.

"Newton Trails is thrilled about this development," said Greg Richardson, Newton Trails' board chair. "Our organization has been working toward this end for many years. We are so appreciative of the vision and action of the city council, Mayor Steve Horton and City Manager Scott Andrews.”

In other business, the council:

  • Adopted a Mixed-Use Building text amendment to alter Title 16 as recommended by the Planning Commission.
  • Held a public hearing for a special use permit to operate an axe throwing amusement entertainment business at 1113 Church Street. The council later approved the issuance of permit.
  • Reappointed Mark Sullivan, Jared Rutberg and Steve Plitt to the Planning Commission.
  • Tabled an appointment to the Zoning Board of Adjustments.
  • Approved the modification of the city’s existing Hangar Ground Lease Agreement from 10 years to 25 years.
  • Approved the MGAG Trade Confirmation with Veresence.
  • Approved a supplemental contract with MGAG for Gas Portfolio V Project.
  • Approved to enter a Consecutive Water System Intergovernmental Agreement on an initial 10-year term.
  • Approved a 50-year lease agreement for the water treatment facility on Williams Street.
  • Approved a contract with Pratt Recycling Supply.
  • Approved an agreement with GDOT to receive a grant and manage a sidewalks project in the City of Oxford.
  • Tabled discussion of a TSPLOST intergovernmental agreement to the next council meeting July 20.
  • Entered into an executive session to discuss “litigation and land.”