COVINGTON, Ga. — In 2009, an urban redevelopment plan was created in Covington, which paved the way to forming a nine-member Redevelopment Authority. More than a decade later, the city’s plan has been deemed “outdated” and obsolete.
During a regular-scheduled meeting Nov. 16, the Covington City Council unanimously approved an agreement to have CPL and RKG Associates lead consultation of the new plan in the amount of $36,025.
Covington Economic Development Manager William Smith said it was necessary to update the city’s urban development plan for several reasons. The plan serves as a guide for how the Redevelopment Authority operates, he said. Also, there are lots of areas around the city that need attention, Smith said. Updating the plan will provide the city with a new plan for action. It will also help the city better identify and address different needs within the community — specifically, different amenities, Smith said. Also, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs considers an urban redevelopment plan more than five years old to be outdated unless renewed or readopted by the local government.
The Georgia Conservancy, in conjunction with Georgia Tech, also bid to take on the project at a much lower rate of approximately $9,000. However, Smith said based on a proven track record, the proposal from CPL and RKG Associates was the city’s best option.
“The problems we’re trying to solve are not small,” Smith said.
CPL has been part of several similar projects across the state. It led the urban redevelopment and Comprehensive Plan update in the city of Chamblee, as well as other redevelopment projects in the cities of Centerville, Dunwoody and in Douglas County.
Partner group RKG Associates helped the city of Roswell update its urban redevelopment plan and also aided East Point with a Livable Communities Initiative Market Update.
Smith said Covington’s new urban redevelopment plan would take approximately six months to create and start implementation.
The plan’s main purpose is to revitalize areas within the city that were designated in 2009 as “slum areas,” as required by state law.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams felt developing a plan for the city’s “blighted areas” was among Covington’s biggest needs.
Councilman Kenneth Morgan asked if the group would be helping with the Town Center project. Smith said part of the consultants’ process was to first assess the city’s current assets, and then any changes or adjustments needed would be proposed later.
Councilman Don Floyd asked how the consultants’ fees would be paid for. Mayor Steve Horton said the amount would not require any budget amendments as there were enough funds to cover the cost.
A master plan for Covington’s Central Park would also be developed as part of the agreement for an additional $52,500. The city recently purchased 57 acres of land to expand Central Park and connect residents from the southwest corner of the city to Central Park and to the trail system, which leads to the downtown area and northern end of the park.
In other business, the council also unanimously approved a bid from GWES in the amount of $108,032 for design work of a sidewalk installation project.
The city’s Public Works Department recently solicited proposals to supply three full sets of working drawings, documents and construction administration for the installation of approximately 11,000 total linear feet of 5-foot-wide sidewalks along portions of Brown Bridge, Turner Lake and Flat Shoals roads.
Williams asked what would determine having sidewalks on each side of the road. Public Works Director Kevin Sorrow said engineers would evaluate the streets, but funding was among the determining factors.
“It gets expensive to put it on both sides, but we can do crosswalks and things of that nature to get you where you need to go,” Sorrow said. “Hopefully we can put in as much as we can, but budgeting will dictate how much we can do.”
Sorrow said he did not know how soon the project would get started.
As part of its proposal, GWES expected construction would be completed by December 2021, according to documents provided by the city.
The only other bid received by the city was from Keck & Wood in the amount of $155,000 (about $47,000 more than GWES’s bid). Keck & Wood’s projected date of completion was May 2022.