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Chimney Park scores big at Deck the Halls

COVINGTON -- Chimney Park has received its largest single donation in the project's history -- some $2,556 -- thanks to sponsors of the first Deck the Halls silent auction benefit held recently.

Organizers of the event held at The Event Space on Monticello Street included Lisa Conner, Dawn and Marshall Atha, Saba Tanner, Sandie Stephens and Pam Bunn, all of First Baptist Church. Conner said the proceeds exceeded their fondest hopes.

"We were all firmly committed to making this event a success, and it took a lot of teamwork," said Conner. "The community responded very warmly to the concept, and we are so very proud to be able to make a donation of this size to such a worthy project."

Chimney Park, located behind the Newton County Public Library, is a park being developed with all private funds and grants and promises to be a place where children and adults of all ages and abilities will be able to enjoy re-connecting with nature in a protected urban woodland.

"We were particularly moved by the need for there to be a place where special needs children and adults get to experience the out-of-doors that we take for granted," Conner added.

Friends of Newton Parks Board Chair Barbara Morgan commended the work of the Deck the Halls organizers.

"In their first year, they've really pulled off something successful and have laid a foundation for an event that will grow in size and greater success every year," she said. "We couldn't be more grateful. This donation is among our largest to date."

The seed for Deck the Halls took root two years ago when Conner and Saba Tanner visited a similar event held annually in Cartersville, Tanner's home town. They mulled over the idea with church friends and determined to turn the Cartersville concept into a Covington reality. Earlier this year, a committee was formed consisting of Conner, Tanner, Stephens, Bunn and the Athas.

Britt and Leslie Smith, owners of the event space, 1138 Monticello St., donated the location for the duration of the benefit. Organizers solicited donations of Christmas decor, gifts and fully decorated artificial trees from individuals, businesses and organizations that were "sold" to the highest bidder in a competitive silent auction. The Deck the Halls team also booked Santa Claus as a special guest.