The Covington News - - Front page -

also now gen­tly slope into the level of the road, elim­i­nat­ing the step up that of­ten in­con­ve­nienced the city’s el­derly vis­i­tors. The side­walks and cross­walks would also be made of a dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial than as­phalt on the road, likely a brick or stone pat­tern.

Fi­nally, the east side­walk would be slightly nar­rower than the west side, which would al­low the wider side to serve as an area for com­mu­nity gath­er­ings while keep­ing in the sun­light for as long as pos­si­ble each day.

The by­pass would have been com­pleted by the time the re­design would be com­plete, which would al­low for the raised ar­eas to slow traf­fic and would al­low the city to close down the street for spe­cial oc­ca­sions if it de­sired.

“We want to keep a strong sense of place,” Ur­ban Col­lage rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eric Bos­man said. “We also want to im­prove con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween re­tail and the Blue Wil­low Inn, in­cor­po­rate com­mu­nity area space and en­hance the look and feel of the down­town area.”

Sev­eral ideas for re­designs had been dis­cussed at four steer­ing meet­ings, held by a pri­vate com­mit­tee of 21 cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the down­town de­vel­op­ment au­thor­ity and the city coun­cil. There had also been two work ses­sions that were open to the pub­lic. At the most re­cent of those two meet­ings, 98 per­cent of the peo­ple present had ap­proved of the se­lected re­design.

The project was es­ti­mated to cost $1.2 mil­lion, which the coun­cil as­sured the cit­i­zens would not be paid for by tax dol­lars. Op­tions for cov­er­ing the cost in­clude, but are not lim­ited to, Trans­porta­tion En­hance­ment Grants, bond fund­ings, the Trans­porta- tion Im­prove­ment Pro­gram, SPLOST and Bet­ter Home­town/Main Street Grants.

Though most of the mem­bers present for the coun­cil meet­ing were present due to the vote on the pro­posed mill­age rate, many voiced their ap­provals, and a few con­cerns, about the project.

“I thought the over­all re­ac­tion was very pos­i­tive,” Mayor James Burgess said. “No­body seemed to have any ma­jor prob­lems with it. It was ac­tu­ally good that it was resched­uled for tonight, be­cause more peo­ple got to see it who nor­mally wouldn’t have known about it.”

He also stated he thought that Ur­ban Col­lage had done a fan­tas­tic job with the project.

“They’ve been won­der­ful to work with,” Burgess said. “This is the first step in a long progress, and we’re not go­ing to use tax money to pay for it. We’re re­ally looking for­ward to see­ing how it looks.”

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