Lorenzo Mendez, operating the Bobcat, and Jason Crawford work at the spot on the Covington Square where a performing arts stage will be constructed. (Staff photo: Wade Marbaugh)
COVINGTON — Last year Mayor Ronnie Johnston proposed that Covington lease its downtown Square from Newton County, which owns it.
That successful move has opened the way for a major landscaping project in the Square to make the area more attractive.
“The idea is to make things like the Square more inviting,” Johnston said. “We want to provide a nice, solid quality of life for people who live here and for tourists and those looking to move here.”
Johnston’s original landscaping proposal for the Square included a gazebo for performing arts and moat-like waterways to protect the Square’s sculptures, the Veterans Memorial and the Confederate Monument. Those ideas were set aside in favor of a less ambitious project.
“Everything else is moving forward,” Johnston said.
Wednesday a construction crew scraped dirt and rocks at a new entertainment area where a raised concrete stage will be built for performances such as music concerts.
Another major improvement will be grading work to allow water to flow out from the Square. Currently, rainfalls produce a large puddle of water in the center of the park.
The landscaping plan includes improved walkways and a plaza to make the memorials more attractive.
Johnston said that Peach State Construction, a local company performing the contract, is donating the labor. The city will cover costs such as materials, he said, and the local hotel-motel tax is funding those expenses.
“It will help tourism and make a more community-like area,” Johnston said.