Covington exits to be beautified

COVINGTON — Gateways into the city will now be regularly mowed and maintained, as the Covington City Council has approved lawn maintenance contracts to jumpstart its beautification efforts.

Maintenance including litter removal, mowing 42 times per year and weed control at exits 90 and 92, as well as a grassy area on U.S. Highway 278 in front of Ginn Chrysler Jeep Dodge was awarded to local company Great Estates Landscaping at a cost of $1,838 per month.

The contract covers upkeep of the area around the park-and-ride and the Welcome to Covington sign at exit 90 and along Alcovy Road around Harland Drive to FiberVisions at exit 92. Extra charges of $30 an hour will kick in if city officials want to do flower planting or any other extra work at the exits.

Great Estates was also approved to maintain a stretch of Ga. Highway 142 from the traffic light at Home Depot to U.S. Highway 278 at a cost of $750 per month. However, the council made approval contingent upon the county splitting the cost. The county commission has yet to discuss the matter.

In addition the City Council awarded a landscape contract at the southeast apron of Covington Municipal Airport for $455 per month. That contract went to G&G Landscaping.

While all those areas are actually the Georgia Department of Transportation’s responsibility to mow, the city has been doing it for some time, said Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon. The DOT will mow only twice per year, he said, while the city crew mows about once a month, weather permitting. “We don’t have the manpower to cut it weekly,” he said.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston has championed the beautification of the entrances to the city. “By our actions, we just made a statement I think for the whole community, not only for the city of Covington but for the county, because I’ve had numerous people complain about exit 90 and how we could do a better job,” he said. “I think we’ve got a whole lot more to do but at least we’re taking a stance and hopefully for the rest of the community we’ll be able to continue moving forward.”