Commission buying land close to lake

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Recreation Commission is purchasing property near the entrance of Turner Lake Complex for practical and preservation purposes.

County commissioners have approved a lease-purchase agreement for the Recreation Commission to acquire a little more than an acre of land, which includes a two-story house and two detached buildings, for about $300,000.

Eventually, the home may be remodeled and become park headquarters, according to Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey. Having outgrown office space at the main building at Turner Lake, the department is in need of more room for administrative staff, he said.

A detached two-car garage and another small building will be used for storage of maintenance equipment, Hailey said, noting that now the Recreation Commission rents a trailer for that purpose.

But, "The bigger issue is to protect the land adjacent to Turner Lake for the future needs of the Recreation Department," BOC Chairwoman Kathy Morgan said.

Hailey said if the property had been left for someone else to buy, it might have been rezoned, noting that at one time a senior citizen highrise was planned for the location, but Rob Fowler and Charlie Tuller with Sunbeltco Properties stepped in and secured a land swap. The property is being purchased from Sunbeltco Properties under a lease-purchase agreement. It will be funded through the Recreation Commission budget, according to Morgan.