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Covington council eyes new city park hours
Change to stop alleged ‘undesirable activities’ from taking place

COVINGTON, Ga. — Hours of operation for parks across the city of Covington could be getting cut.

In order to curb what Mayor Steve Horton described as “undesirable activities” from taking place in the city’s parks, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance Jan. 4 to amend the park hours, among other changes.

“Recently and probably at greater times in the past, even some that I remember years ago, we’ve received complaints about undesirable activities taking place in city-owned parks — a lot of it after dark,” Horton said. “Some of it just people congregating, loud cars, fast driving in and out of them — a number of different things.”

Horton said City Attorney Frank Turner Jr. drafted a new version of an ordinance to amend and “provide clarity” of park rules and operating hours. 

If a second and final reading of the amended ordinance is approved, city parks will be open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Currently, parks remain open to the public until 11 p.m. Parks and facilities that fall under the ordinance’s jurisdiction include Academy Springs Park, Baker Field, Central Park, Conyers Street Gym, Chimney Park, City Pond Park, Judicial Building Park, Old Cousins Gym, Pactiv Field, Rota-Dyne, Nelson Heights Community Center, Trailblazers Park and Turner Lake Park.

As for designated parking areas, which means “only the parking lots within any park designated for automobile parking and such future areas as may be cleared and provided by the city of Covington and designated as a parking area,” would remain open “from 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. from March 1 to October 31, and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Nov. 1 until April 30, except that designated parking area hours as to City Pond Park shall mean from 8 a.m to 9:30 p.m. March 1 until October 31 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 through April 30” under the amended ordinance. As it stands currently, there are no clear-cut limitations on parking.

Owners of any motorized vehicle left unattended or abandoned in areas not designated for parking are subject to penalties.

If passed, violators of the new ordinance would be subject to a penalty fine up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail.

Prior to unanimous approval from the council, Councilwoman Fleeta Baggett asked if cemeteries could be included within this ordinance. Turner said because the subject of cemeteries has its own ordinance, similar provisions would have to be amended within the respective ordinance.