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I-20 exits to get grass cut regularly
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The Covington City Council vowed to clean up the entrances to the city to make them more attractive for visitors and residents alike, and it took the first step last week.

The council voted unanimously to hire two different landscaping firms to cut the grass at I-20 exits 90 (U.S. Highway 278), 92 (Alcovy Road) and 93 (Ga. Highway 142).

The city will pay Great Estate Landscaping $1,838 per month to cut the grass at exits 90 and 92, as well as along both sides of Alcovy Road from Covington Fire Station #2 to Fibervisions and a small section on U.S. Highway 278 in front of the Ginn Chrysler dealership.

In addition, the city will pay G&G Landscaping $450 per month to cut grass at the Covington Municipal Airport’s planned terminal on the airport’s south side, near Ga. Highway 142. Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the ground is sloped, making it more difficult to cut.

Finally, the council approved paying Great Estates Landscaping to cut the grass at exit 93 and along Ga. Highway 142 from the light at Home Depot all the way to U.S. Highway 278. However, because the property is partially in the county, the council approved paying half of the $750 bid contingent on the county also paying half of the cost. The county did not vote on the issue at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, according to county minutes.

Each of the contracts calls for 42 weekly grass cuttings, as well as trash pickup.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is responsible for maintenance of interstate exits, but the state only cuts the grass at exits a couple of times a year because of budget cuts. City officials want the exits to look nice and decided to pay for the grass to be cut much more often.

"We should have a very professional look compared to what we do right now," Mayor Ronnie Johnston said Monday.

"I have had numerous people always complain about that exit 90 and how we could do a better job, and I think you all are to be congratulated for taking a stance and moving that agenda forward," he told the council.

"We don’t have the manpower here to do it like it needs to be," said Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon. "It needs to be cut, basically, weekly."

Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams asked about flowers and landscaping. Bouchillon said there is an additional hourly rate of $30 for extra work, should the city choose to request such work.

Johnston admitted  that "there’s a whole lot more to do," but said the council is moving forward.

Bouchillon said the city will have to have a budget amendment at some point, because the grass cutting is not in the current budget.