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Letter: Legion Field management needs to be reevaluated

Dear Editor:

The Covington City Council as well as the Newton County Board of Commissioners need to reevaluate management of Legion Field.  On Aug. 18, several issues disparaging to the patrons of the public park were observed. 

First, the restroom facilities normally available to both men and women are locked.  Why?  Do members of local government think that no one using the field to walk, run, exercise, have their children there to play, or engage in activities with their dog would have the need to use the facilities?  Anyone with children and those who exercise will tell you that restroom facilities need to be available.

Second, all the water fountains and water spigots are locked as well.  If you have ever been to Legion Field in the morning, walking through the grass engaging in activities leaves large amounts of grass clippings on one's shoes.  There is no way to clean your shoes if one doesn't bring extra water from home as well as bottled water for drinking.  Moreover, at times, one can drink more water than one normally brings.  Without the access to water, there are times when activities have to be curtailed early.  And, let's not forget how children love to drink from the water fountains despite having access to bottled water and have a tendency to get hands, legs, arms and feet dirty requiring running water.  As you may or may not know, a baby wipe just doesn't cut it at times.  Dogs sometimes needs a helping hand getting cleaned up after a romp in the grass and can consume large amounts of water on hot humid days.  Let's face it; cold fountain water is better than hot bottled water for anyone. 

The solution has been for many to bring ice for their fur babies; however, ice can melt quickly even in a cooler or insulated thermos on particularly brutally hot humid days.

Last, but not least, is the issue of a total lack of courtesy on the part of the individual mowing the grass at Legion Field on this day.  Every Saturday, there is a dog training entity holding group classes there.  All the animals are well mannered, under control, under the supervision of owners and the trainer alike, and the area cleaned afterward.  Other people with their dogs and those without use the field cooperatively.  However, the individual mowing the grass ignored a big rule of safety – always mow with the chute away from animals and people on the paved walk.  On this day, a little girl was hit with a rock, her father hit with a small pebble, a dog hit with small debris, people covered with grass and anxiety generated in several small young dogs.  When confronted, the individual was rude, refused to follow basic safety rules and mow in the opposite direction.  Needless to say, he was treated as he treated others.

In short, local government is responsible for injuries caused by unsafe, careless employees or contractors. 

Food for thought,

Suzanne Hamner

Newton County