Downtown district may be extended

COVINGTON - The City Council has initiated a process to incorporate the Pace Street corridor into the downtown mixed-use district.

The move is a step toward implementing one aspect of the Livable Centers Initiative study, which suggested creating a gateway into the downtown district via Pace Street.

"The idea is to ensure the district is able to respond to growth in the community and what will be emerging needs for additional greenspace, high-density residential (development) and additional space for business development," Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly said. "It will give existing businesses on the corridor the opportunity to have access to resources, to programs, marketing and financing options."

The Pace Street corridor encompasses about one-fourth of a mile, with the majority of businesses concentrated in Morgan Plaza.

Extending the borders of the downtown mixed-use district was first discussed at a 2006 meeting with the Main Street Covington board and the Department of Community Affairs, Kelly said.

The downtown district is bordered on the north by Central Georgia Railway, on the south by Conyers Street, on the east by Elm Street and on the west by Emory Street.

The City Council agreed to initiate a zoning process that will begin with the filing of a petition by the city Planning and Zoning Department. The seven property owners along the corridor will be notified, and the petition will be advertised publicly and then go before the Planning Commission and City Council for public hearings.

Officials have identified Pace Street as an important area to concentrate on improving because it provides a link between U.S. Highway 278, downtown, residents in the southern part of the city and the planned hotel/civic center/conference center.

Crystal Tatum can be reached crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.