Members of the Covington City Council were unable to reach agreement on a rental fee structure for Legion Field on Mill Street Monday night. The city took over responsibility for the field in January. American Legion Post 32 is currently hosting a spring fair on the field. (Staff Photo: Alice Queen)
COVINGTON — Mayor Ronnie Johnston cast the deciding vote against a proposed rental agreement for the American Legion Field during Tuesday’s Covington City Council meeting.
The city took over responsibility for Legion Field in January, so City Manager Leigh Anne Knight proposed a license agreement, which included a fee structure that holds those who want to use the field accountable if there are any damages.
Knight suggested the council approve the following rates:
• $175/day for field and open pavilion use plus a $50 key deposit;
• $50/day for closed pavilion use; and
• $50 damage deposit for both the field and open pavilion as well as the closed pavilion
Councilman Chris Smith offered a different proposal suggesting there be a $250 refundable deposit.
“We want to hold the public accountable, but I’d much rather make it simple and continue to have this park as a service for our community,” Smith said. “It’s a public park, not a way for the city to make money. I much rather have a deposit fee structure and give the money back 100 percent if there are no damages.”
Johnston said the city is going to have to consider not leasing the park out to anyone for private events in the future.
“This is a public park and we’re trying to get more people to use the park. If people want to reserve the park for certain events that’s when it gets difficult,” Johnston said.
Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams said she’s concerned that it would be difficult for a group that had paid to reserve the park to keep others out since it’s a public park.
Three council members — Smith, Michael Whatley and Keith Dalton — voted in favor of Smith’s proposed rental agreement with a $250 refundable deposit, but Councilwomen Williams, Ocie Franklin and Janet Goodman were opposed, leaving the mayor to cast the deciding vote against it.
The council will continue to look at the language and agreement terms of another agreement.