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Business owner proposes Christmas destination for downtown Covington

COVINGTON -- One local small business owner has a vision to make downtown Covington a Christmas destination.

Susan Kirk, owner of Scoops downtown and Just Dogs on U.S. Hwy. 278, requested Monday that the Covington City Council budget $47,000 each year for at least the next three years to illuminate the downtown during the holiday season.

Kirk proposed a three phase project: Phase one would involve lighting the rooftops and architectural details, such as windows and brick awnings, of buildings along the Square. The second phase would involve wrapping all trees in new tree wells downtown from bottom to top, including those down side streets. The third phase would be to light the tree in the Square Park traditionally used as the community Christmas tree with 5,000 lights that would be synchronized to music. Fifteen-minute light shows would take place twice per night during the holiday season, Kirk said. The city already has speakers for music to be piped in for the show, she added.

Although it would be put out to bid to get an actual cost, $47,000 is the estimated cost to hire a professional service to install, service, take down and store the lights, Kirk said. She said the electric bill impact would be minimal, costing $35 to light one block for the whole season, and about $111 to light each of the four blocks with more architectural details, Kirk said.

Kirk said the lights and decorations already purchased by Main Street would still be used, with the snowflakes moved to the trees in the Square Park, if permission is granted by the county, which owns that property, and merchants would be asked to participate in decorating with greenery and other "daytime" decorations, like garland. Janet Goodman asked if the county could help with the electric bill, since some of the decorations will be in the Square Park; Kirk said she could check.

Kirk is a member of the Main Street Covington Board of Directors and said at a meeting in October members identified making the downtown a Christmas destination as a top priority.

"The main reason is to increase sales. Retailers downtown, their biggest push and where they make their season in the fourth quarter, the Christmas season. How best we can help those retailers and attract new ones is by creating a wonderful Christmas destination and drawing new customers," Kirk said.

Kirk said the lights would draw people from surrounding towns like Monroe, Social Circle and Madison as, "There's no city that's doing this within 100 miles that it's free."

Kirk said it would increase visibility for downtown Covington and make it more attractive for retailers and restaurants to locate there.

Goodman asked if people would really come to the Square, because it's such a small area, to see Christmas lights. Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he would love to see lights stretch all the way down Washington Street to Porterdale, but "we've got to crawl before we can get up and run" and the Square would be a great starting point.

The council did not vote on the matter.

Comments

Newtownqq 1 year ago

Why? $47,000 is far more than we can afford! This is just a crazy request from as the article says one small business owner. If you want to decorate your building go ahead, but we the taxpayer are not gonna pay for it! Call Hunter Hall thats his job to promote Covington and Newton Co business, thats his job! If you want more place to eat in Covington tell the BOC and City Council to loosen up alchol rules. Thats what keeps us bogged down!

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dennistay53 1 year ago

Better watch out. Liberals want go for this unless you change it from Christmas to Holiday.

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Newtownqq 1 year ago

Dennistay, Thank for your effort on the ESPLOST, it did not go they way we wanted it to but we all tried. I think you idea of Dems are not exactly right. Sam Nunn was one of the greatest friends to GA and he was a Dem, So just dont forget those Dems that helped you before!!!

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dennistay53 1 year ago

@Newtownqq- I'm not a member of either local party. There are liberal republicans as well. I thank both Democrats and Republicans who voted against SPLOST. I'm against the ones who don't want christmas to be called christmas and we have those in this county.

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John 1 year ago

If you want to increase sales do like any other business does use your own $$ - maybe you can pass the hat around the other buisnessses around the square. Asking the taxpayers, your potentional customers, to pay almost $150,000 in the next 3 years for this speculative idea is a bit bold. From what I can tell in November & December ice cream & stuff like that is not a "hot" seller unless you have a slice of homemade hot apple pie around and a fireplace. The Covington Square is not a really a Mecca for Christmas shopping (any other time) - but a convenient place to visit with a lawyer or two. It is what it is. Plus if no othe city/county is doing it within 100 miles - which includes Atlanta, Lawreceville & Athens there is probably a sound reason.

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Newtownqq 1 year ago

John I can't agree more! If you want to decorate on your one dime and time go ahead! We need to stand up as taxpayers and tell the BOC and City of Covington that we are done supporting business! What happened to capitalism promoted by Republicans? They say cut out the government and business will be happy and prosper! But business seems to always has it's hand out, just like those addicted to EBT. Look at how much Baxter has cost us! Now they want to change your adress! Come one!

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OnToday 1 year ago

If private businesses stand to benefit then they should all pool their money to make it happen. It's funny, people whine and complain about how they want the government to stay out of their business but they are usually the first ones to petition the government to help them make money. I appreciate the idea but leaving the logistics and cost to the city is absurd.

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dennistay53 1 year ago

What happens is once they are elected to local office there is not a lot of difference between Republican and Democrats - they both go to spending and taxing. If you wanted unemployment to go down to around 4% (which is really full employment) all you would need to do is eliminate corporate and business tax for a couple of years. As bad as we hate rich getting richer that is what has to happen for there to be jobs. When government take the tax from the rich - government doesn't do a good job of creating jobs- the rich doesn't invest to create jobs. They go elsewhere like China. With 4% unemployment more tax would be collected then there is now. When you put corporate and business tax back when unemployment goes down you keep it low, quit giving bailouts and if a company goes under let it go because someone will pick it up. If business leaders cheat - send them to prison.

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John 1 year ago

This is like asking Newton County to pay my mortgage payments, property taxes and homeowners insurance for as long as I live or until my mortagage is paid off, which ever comes first. In return, I will guarantee that I will spend every, nickle, dime, quarter & dollar that I don't have to write a check for right here in Newton County on locally owned businesses to further stimulate the local economy. I think I know the answer. Increasing business activity is difficult in a slow economy but not impossible but it does take some brain storming and creative thinking - that don't cost too much either.

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dennistay53 1 year ago

Suggestion- Write Vampire Diaries or Baxter for help in lighting up downtown for christmas. They have the most money and bigger investment than us poor taxpayers. They could probably even deduct it off their tax.

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Newtownqq 1 year ago

@Dennistay your right ! But I am so tired about hearing that Baxter is going to turn our county around! There like any other Mega Company take all the handouts and in 20 years leave town! Now they want 600 people to change their zipcodes! Come on and why is BOC telling people how to vote? Thought that voting was your personal right and if government tells you how you should vote is communist!

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dennistay53 1 year ago

@Newtownqq By the time Baxter gets up and running good the job difference between now and then will probably be negative compared to the population which will be poorer and poorer moving in from the west escaping DeKalb school fiasco. Jobs and quality growth just don't come to high tax poor school counties. Baxter may buildup the East part of Newton but most will live in Morgan, Walton, Putnum, Greene, Oconee and commute. Around Lake Sinclaire and Lake Oconee will get most of the boom dollars while we in Newton stuck with most of the handouts and long term debt.

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