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Mayor wants evaluation of Main Street

COVINGTON -- Mayor Ronnie Johnston successfully petitioned the Covington City Council Monday for funding for an outside consultant to come in and evaluate Main Street Covington.

"The overall goal is I want to bring somebody in to reevaluate and really look at Main Street -- its function and what it's doing good and what it could do better," Johnston said, adding that the focus of the evaluation will be on the economic development of downtown and the promotion of the downtown district.

"I wanted to bring a fresh perspective ... hopefully with the intent of getting information to improve the program," Johnston said. "Other businesses from time to time have a consultant look at their processes. It's nothing personal. I'm not going after somebody. I'm looking at the efficiency of the entire program."

Johnston said he attends Main Street board meetings as the city of Covington's representative and has been pushing for about three months to bring in a consultant to conduct an evaluation. Now that the city has agreed to fund the entire cost of the evaluation, at up to $4,500, he's hopeful the board will be agreeable. Main Street is jointly funded by the city and county and the hotel/motel tax.

"I'm proud of the city for stepping out and saying, 'Hey, we can do this,'" he said.

Johnston said he wants to leverage the positive aspects of downtown, including promoting that "The Vampire Diaries" television series is filmed there. He also wants to attract more high-end restaurants. With the possibility of more residents and the halo effect of landing Baxter International, "We've got a great opportunity to bring some folks in, and it all comes down to one big issue for me: improving the income per house ratio," he said. "This is one piece of the puzzle."

He added that the downtown could be a great entertainment district.

"We've got a great foundation down there and we're really trying to figure out a way to take it to a whole (new) level," he said.

He also said he'd like to find out how Main Street can better support downtown merchants.

Johnston said he wants full support of the Main Street board and their assistance in selecting the consultant.

Comments

56vick 1 year, 11 months ago

I like the way the mayor thinks . It's really a shame that the downtown area is being wasted . We go to Madison and to Monroe for once a month concerts downtown and wonder why we can't have that on the square in Covington . Both cities have superb concerts that draw a very large crowd on Friday Evenings . Try having Mac take over the job and watch what a difference it makes when someone who cares takes commits . Mr Mayor I like your ideas please keep up the good work.

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John 1 year, 11 months ago

Maybe Covington can taking a lead from "Old Town Conyers" is doing. Was up there today (not at lunch time) and stores and streets (parking was hard to find) appeared busy.

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will 1 year, 11 months ago

Mayor Johnston keep up the good work. We have not had a Mayor with a real vision in many years. The concerts on the square are good and we can still improve many areas. Promote this town for the people that bring something to the table and you will see this city make a turn for the better. Bringing in high-end restaurants is a great idea as well but do not let Hunter Hall help with this. He said Salem Rd was a prime location for a high-end restaurant and that shows his mindset, put them around the square. Mayor THANK YOU for your hard work.

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sweetpotato 1 year, 11 months ago

If you watched the council meeting a few weeks ago one of the downtown building owners went before the Council asking for help said the Fire Marshall pretty much shut down anything he wanted to do. He was given either a NO or yes IF and the IF was so much money that it didnt make any sense to do it for the rent he can charge. The City has got to realize that the buildings up there are old and you cant make them new and then rent them at a reasonable rate. If they dont get a reality check on the regs for these old buildings up there and make it EASY to do business up there it will continue to go down.

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