City wants notice of park gatherings

COVINGTON -- Officials have agreed to require anyone wishing to host large gatherings at Spillers Park off Jefferson Avenue in the Nelson Heights Community to first notify the city.

The discussion came Tuesday at a special called meeting in light of a recent block party that took place at the park. The party drew several hundred people and took place without permission from the Newton County Recreation Commission, which manages the park, or formal notification of the Covington Police Department. Residents complained of noise and blocked driveways.

City Manager Steve Horton said it's been the practice and policy of the Recreation Commission to manage and control the park for more than a decade, but a recent search of city archives turned up no contract.

"I surely thought we had a contract there, but I think it must have been just an understanding," Horton said.

The council also said it wants some type of agreement with the Recreation Commission requiring a large number of people intending to gather at the park to notify the city in order to give police, fire and EMS advance notice.

Mayor Kim Carter said she would hope the Recreation Commission would post signs at the park notifying the public of the need to make reservations there for parties.

Horton said city officials would need to consult with the Recreation Commission and make sure the requirement is carefully worded.

"It being a public park and playground, you wouldn't want it so children couldn't go down there and play without calling the Recreation Commission," he said.