Rec depart­ment set to re­vi­tal­ize Cousins' gym

The Covington News - - Sports - By Brian Harper

The New­ton County Recre­ation Depart­ment has re­cently leased the old Cousins Mid­dle School gym­na­sium and foot­ball field.

With $500,000 com­ing from Spe­cial Pur­poses Lo­cal Op­tion Sales Tax and an­other $200,000 from Project Ad­ven­ture’s Arthur Blank Foun­da­tion, the recre­ation depart­ment looks to fill the void of the over crowded Turner Lake gym. “Turner Lake is over-crowded,” said New­ton County Recre­ation di­rec- tor Tommy Hai­ley.

“The fa­cil­i­ties and ac­tiv­i­ties be­ing of­fered have just taken off and by adding some­thing like this it’s a great trib­ute to the com­mu­nity.”

The gym will be open for use in the morn­ing and in the evenings af­ter schools are out.

Es­tab­lished to pro­vide the same ameni­ties as Turner Lake, the gym will be avail­able for bas­ket­ball and other recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties with the same fees ap­ply­ing.

The cur­rent Turner Lake's fees are per visit, $1 for youths ages 8-17 and se­nior cit­i­zens 55 and older and $2 for adults 18-54. and five dol­lars for peo­ple out­side of New­ton County.

The foot­ball field was leased with a 20-year agree­ment. Pur­chased with hopes of ex­pand­ing the ju­nior foot­ball pro­grams, the field will also be ac­ces­si­ble to the lo­cal schools.

“We do have an agree­ment with the school sys­tem. If they need ac­cess to the field, they can have it,” said Hai­ley.

The goal for the grand open­ing of the gym has been set for the fall of next year.

“We would love to have it open be­fore bas­ket­ball sea­son next year, but we have a lot of work to do,” said Hai­ley. “We have to pri­or­i­tize what projects need the most at­ten­tion and start with them first.”

The recre­ation depart­ment has plans to redo the en­tire gym by adding a new floor and bas­ket­ball equip­ment.

Also there are plans to ren­o­vate the class­rooms back to work­ing or­der.

With the new fa­cil­i­ties be­ing opened, the Recre­ation Depart­ment will of­fer more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the youth in the New­ton County.

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