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Gutknecht: Field trip shines light on local issue
Covington Field Trip

I can’t remember the last field trip I went on in school. Was it to the Tennessee Aquarium or that trip down to Jekyll Island? I’m not sure. What I do remember was the excitement to learn something new outside of the normal classroom setting.

I’d wake up extra early in the morning, make sure I had the perfect outfit picked out and was ready for the day. Half the fun was the excitement leading up to the trip.

Last week, I had the opportunity to go on an adult version of a field trip. Now, my job is different than most. I don’t sit in an office all day every day. If I was doing that, I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly. That being said, I do get to go out a lot and explore new things.

Last Friday, however, I got to go on this adventure with members of the Covington City Council to Atlanta. The councilmembers were headed to Atlanta to talk with developers interested in building an apartment complex in the city. The developers welcomed all of us into their office and showed us around the big city. It was really eye-opening a definitely an informational trip.

While this “field trip” wasn’t quite as exciting as the trip to the Atlanta Zoo I went on with my kindergarten class – sorry, councilmembers – I definitely enjoyed myself.

See, I came to The Covington News almost two years ago. Having grown up in Conyers, I was familiar with the area and excited to become part of the community. I had previously worked in Greensboro and I was ready to make the move. That’s where the first roadblock came into play.

I remember prior to starting my first days of work, I went around to the local apartment complexes searching for a place to call home. I wasn’t exactly in the place to buy a home, so renting was the best option for me at the time. I will tell you this, finding a place to rent in Covington is not easy. Apparently, I did not meet the standards.

“Yes ma’am, we have three one-bedroom apartments available within your moving dates, can you please tell me what your income is and we can get you qualified?”

“Sure, I make XXX.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, you make too much money to qualify for this apartment.”

“Excuse me???”

When has having more than enough money to afford a rent payment ever been a bad thing for a landlord? After hearing that I made too much money at every apartment complex in town, I made my way down to Conyers and easily signed a lease. Sure, I was outside of where I wanted to be, but they were more than happy to take my poor journalist salary.

I am encouraged by the council’s attempt to bring a diverse selection of housing options to the city. With new jobs coming to the area every day, I believe the community will be begging for more renter-friendly options.

Even though I am now in the process of buying a home myself, I know I would have been thrilled to have some of the rental options the councilmembers have looked at when I first came back to the area.

Jackie Gutknecht is the managing editor of The Covington News. She can be reached at or 770-728-14009. Twitter: @jack­ieg1991