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Square landscape plan approved, but no gazebo

COVINGTON — Changes are coming to the Covington Square park, but they don’t include a gazebo.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston brought up the discussion of the Square’s master plan again at the Covington City Council meeting on Monday.

“If we don’t move something forward, I’ll have to go back to the county and say we don’t want responsibility of the Square,” Johnston said in the work session. “I wanted to see if we can move forward with a master plan without installing a gazebo and agreeing to no water feature around the Confederate’s memorial but approve landscaping and moving the flag closer to the memorial.”

The City Council voted unanimously, with the absence of Councilwoman Janet Goodman, to approve the landscape changes, which include planting azaleas and more trees, moving the flag pole near the Confederate memorial and adding flowers near the monument in the middle of the Square. The total cost for the improvements would be $25,000 and the labor would be donated.

In other news, the council also agreed to change Hunter Street into a two-way street. In April, Roland Davidson of Lyman Davidson Dooley Inc. gave an update to the council on the Judicial Center expansion project. He request that the council consider making Hunter Street a two-way street in order to make it more accessible for visitors.

Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the project also includes creating a raised pedestrian crossing to slow down drivers. He proposed that the council approve the changes but hold the county responsible for maintaining the pedestrian crossing as well as re-striping the roadway.

That proposal was also approved unanimously.

The first reading of an updated sign ordinance was approved along with an ordinance that would allow parking in front of new developments along the U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. Highway 142 corridor if the speed limit is 45 mph or greater. After complaints from residents, the council approved to put “No on-street parking” signs at the entrance of Ramsey Drive.