To the editor:
I love the Square! It's really the reason my family and I moved to Covington in 1982. Once we stepped foot on the Square, we knew that Covington was OUR home. That's why I felt so privileged to work on the landscape project on the Square in March 2002. KCNB asked the community to come together and secure the historic trees, sod grass, put in a sprinkler system and new seasonal color beds. It was beautiful. Simple, but beautiful.
I was shocked and saddened recently to see the current conditions of the Square. It's no one's fault, really. As fate would have it, the weather conditions and water restrictions have caused landscape decline just like at our own homes. So, just as we have done at our own personal addresses, we (the city of Covington and Newton County) have put together a plan to revitalize and protect our valued, historic landscape. Using everything legally at our disposal, we are fighting to save the Square!
First of all, citizens will be seeing much more physical labor expanded on the Square. Luther Bouchillon, facilities maintenance manager, will aerate and plug the Zoysia sod. This will allow whatever water is available to go straight to the roots where it's needed. This may be a good lesson for all of us. I'm realizing that my home needs the same treatment. Secondly, we're starting to water. No, No, No, not with our expensive sprinkler system. That's against state and local water regulations, and we must be a good role model. We'll do it the good old fashioned way - by hand. Hand watering is allowed on either even or odd days, Monday, Wednesday, Saturday or Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday. No one is allowed to water on Fridays. This hand watering is allowed from midnight until 10 a.m. One person may hand water with a nozzle with a cut-off valve for 25 minutes each assigned day. This method will allow us to water the sod and seasonal beds for a brief period each week. Perhaps a little rain will supplement this meager effort.
Thirdly, and most importantly, we'll address the historic trees. We considered the feasibility of drilling a well, but after careful examination, we decided to do this only as a last resort. Karl Kelley with the Newton County Water Resource Department acknowledged that the water resources department has a non-potable water tank. We will recycle large drums into water barrels, which will be filled with water from the well at the county public works department. These several-hundred-gallon drums will provide the trees with enough water for a deep watering once weekly. Shallow watering can do more harm than good. Also, the trees are desperate for a new supply for mulch. That will be done also.
Well, that's the plan put together by this joint city/county committee consisting of Josephine Kelly, Main Street manager; Karl Kelly, water resource director; Debbie Bell, county landscape architect; Jason Nord, water plant manager; and Jason Johnson, facility director. We hope that citizens can support this plan and maybe mimic it at home. We're all desperate for rain, but we can legally, with a little dedication and hard work, keep alive that valuable, treasured vegetation at our homes.
For advice on care of your landscape, contact Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful at 770-784-2015 or the Newton County Extension Service at 770-784-2010.
Director, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful