Covington has come a long way in recent years.
On Thursday, the city celebrated the official unveiling of a mural at the Golden Fleece Lodge #6, painting a vibrant picture of Covington’s unique film history.
Now, every time one drives into town from Pace Street, they are welcomed to the Square by the likes of Chief Bill Gillespie and Virgil Tibbs from “In the Heat of the Night;” Maddie Townsend, Dana Sue Sullivan and Helen Decatur from “Sweet Magnolias;” Damon and Stefan Salvatore and Elena Gilbert from “Vampire Diaries,” and those unforgettable Duke boys from Hazzard County.
While the mural, beautifully crafted by Tamara Haase of Georgia Brushstrokes, Inc., celebrates the area’s film history, it should also serve as a pendant of Covington’s great progress.
Haase’s mural has brought new life to the downtown area, which is something many municipalities across the country are struggling to do in their own dying downtowns. In fact, Covington once found itself facing the same problem just over a decade ago.
Before the Square was bustling with a variety of shops, eateries and tourist attractions as it is today, it used to be considered a “ghost town.” Or, at least, that’s how it was described to me recently by a life-long resident.
The Square was a quiet place, you say? Full of empty parking spaces? Little-to-no tourists and very few places to spend our dollars locally? That’s, honestly, hard to picture. But it’s true.
Fast-forward to today; after years of investment, recruitment and hard work by past and current city leaders, as well as the commitment of several small business owners, the charming downtown area has been successfully revitalized into a desirable place — a destination. People not only want to visit, but they want to stay a while and be a part of this community.
Now, that doesn’t mean the work is over. In fact, it’s only just beginning. There are many issues still facing the city, and I think any public official or anyone employed by the city would agree with that. But based on its former condition, I’d say there’s more than enough to be proud of in the city of Covington.
Taylor Beck is editor and publisher of The Covington News. He may be reached at email@example.com.