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JC Henderson: This is not just mulch ado about nothing
Commissioner says mulch left at Spillers Park was a danger to children
J.C. Henderson
J.C. Henderson

To the editor,

Thank you for allowing me to respond to the Spillers Park issue and your recent article and photos.

I previously provided you a copy of the property deed showing this property is owned by the city of Covington.  There is no intergovernmental agreement between the city of Covington and Newton County regarding this particular park.

First and foremost, my concern is for the children who play in this park and their safety.  After visiting the park I asked that the recent mulch you displayed in pictures be removed and replaced with mulch that is used on playgrounds throughout the state of Georgia as recommended by the Newton County Recreation Commission.  

Below I have quoted an article regarding certified mulch:


“IPEMA (International Playground Equipment Manufacturers Association) mulch goes through a certification process to make sure the mulch is being made a certain way.  The way they grind the mulch is special because it ensures no splintered ends.  Mulch has clean cuts on the end of the wood chips.
“Also during manufacturing this special mulch goes through several machines to ensure no foreign objects end up in the mulch that could harm a child. Part of that involves going through a series of magnets to make sure no metal pieces end up in the mulch. The final part of the process also ensures that wood chips are uniformly sized appropriately.” 

As a father and grandfather, I know children pick up practically anything and put in their mouths. The mulch that was shown in your photos could prove dangerous to the children. I researched and found out that the mulch was delivered by our public works department at the request to our county manager from an official of the city of Covington. I requested the mulch be removed for the safety of the children and glad to report this has been done. It is my understanding the park has been temporarily closed until further notice.

My desire as a grandfather and commissioner of the 4th District is to see a park where children can play freely and safely with playground equipment and mulch that meets the highest standards.

I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Chairman Marcello Banes and County Manger Lloyd Kerr for their concern and assistance.   

J.C. Henderson, Covington

The writer represents District 4 on the Newton County Commission. Send your letter to