What legacy?

The Covington News - - OPINION - “A hun­dred years af­ter we are gone and for­got­ten, those who never heard of us will be liv­ing with the re­sults of our ac­tions.” —Oliver Wen­dell Homes Randy Vin­son

There has been a re­cent out­pour­ing of con­cern for and sup­port for the con­tin­ued pro­tec­tion of the char­ac­ter of Cov­ing­ton’s his­toric down­town core, af­fec­tion­ately and col­lec­tively re­ferred to as “the Square.” This has been a great thing for the com­mu­nity to rally around. We all have a spe­cial fond­ness for down­town Cov­ing­ton and the last thing any­one wants is to mar its beauty or de­stroy its his­toric char­ac­ter. It makes me very proud of those who orig­i­nally de­signed and built Cov­ing­ton and the gen­er­a­tions who have pro­tected it from un­wanted changes.

I can only imag­ine the pride that those an­ces­tors would feel at the thought of the sus­tained pas­sion about the place they cre­ated and the evo­lu­tion of that place they and their off­spring have grace­fully guided. It makes me won­der though, when was the last time we cre­ated any­thing for Cov­ing­ton that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be equally proud of and pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing?

The his­toric core of Cov­ing­ton was part of the orig­i­nal 202.5 acres pur­chased by the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers in 1822 in or­der to cre­ate a county seat of govern­ment. The BOC hired a sur­veyor, laid out a grid of streets and sub­di­vided the property so that they could sell tracts to in­di­vid­u­als to build businesses, ho­tels, houses, churches, etc. The Com­mis­sion­ers built the first and sec­ond court­houses in the cen­ter of what we now re­fer to as the his­toric square park in the heart of down­town us­ing the pro­ceeds from those land sales to fund the con­struc­tion.

In other words, the mem- bers of New­ton County’s Board of Com­mis­sion­ers of 1822 were the first de­vel­op­ers in Cov­ing­ton. Through­out the past 192 years there has been nu­mer­ous de­vel­op­ers who have added their touch to the char­ac­ter of Cov­ing­ton. Some have done bet­ter jobs than oth­ers, but have any of them come close to the orig­i­nal work of the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers? Is there any other place in Cov­ing­ton be­sides the his­toric core that we are as pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing?

As Cov­ing­ton continues to grow, we should keep this in mind. We need to ask our­selves, is what we are build­ing or al­low­ing to be built adding any­thing to Cov­ing­ton that fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will be pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing? What kind of legacy is our gen­er­a­tion go­ing to leave for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions?

Is any­thing along Hwy 278 go­ing to stir pas­sion in people’s hearts when they hear it is be­ing va­cated or is go­ing to be torn down? Do we be­lieve the new­est Wal­mart will be the last Wal­mart built in Cov­ing­ton? Or will it be aban­doned for the next new shop­ping cen­ter as the commercial de­vel­op­ers race around the Cov­ing­ton By-Pass from I-20 to Por­terdale leav­ing a wake of blighted commercial prop­er­ties in oceans of bro­ken as­phalt.

It is not just the obli­ga­tion of the Com­mis­sion­ers, or city Coun­cil mem­bers to make sure all fu­ture de­vel­op­ment is of the qual­ity and char­ac­ter that is worth pro­tect­ing, it is all of our re­spon­si­bil­ity. We need to make sure the elected of­fi­cials know that we want to leave Cov­ing­ton a bet­ter place for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to en­joy and that we will stand be­hind them when tough de­ci­sions are made re­gard­ing what gets built and what doesn’t.

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