COVINGTON — An official groundbreaking on Lunsford Circle was held Thursday morning for Covington’s new Central Park. The park, which totals 162 acres, backs up to Walker’s Bend off Washington Street and to Nelson Heights on the south side.

Proposed amenities for the new city park will include a disc golf course; basketball, tennis and pickle ball courts; bicycle park; pavilion; hiking/walking trails; multi-purpose fields; botanical garden; parking lot; pedestrian bridge; and restrooms.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the groundbreaking is an historic moment for Covington.

“This is the start of something really special, not only for our whole community, but for the west side of this town which, in my opinion, has been way behind in the progress that the city of Covington has made,” he said. “I am determined to continue moving forward and do things for the west side of town that put it in a great position to be successful. This to me is one.

“In just a few years we celebrate the city of Covington’s bicentennial (2022), and today we gather to start creating something that will be a staple for the community for the next 200 years, which is what we call Covington Central Park,” Johnston continued. “This 162-acre tract that intersects the east and west wards will serve as a connecting point for approximately 10 different neighborhoods. It is our hope that this park not only connects us physically from one neighborhood to another, but further strengthens our community bond.”

Funding for the park is coming from city coffers, but a Central Park Conservancy has also been formed to work on building funds and interest in the park from individuals and businesses willing to contribute to its development. Johnston thanked the members of the group — Bess Dobbs, Janet Goodman, Lucy Courchaine, Randy Connor, Ashlan Webb, Anderson Bailey, Mike Tinsley, and Shamika Tucker — for volunteering.

Johnston added that he hopes the park will help revitalize the west side of Covington and that a substantial part of the park will be completed within the next four years.

“This has been a dream that has been on the boards for quite a while,” he said. “I can’t say how proud I am of the fact that we’re standing where we are right now ... We see it bringing investment into the entire area. We see it as bringing hope to this entire area. That’s one of the reasons I’m very honored and very excited to be mayor as we open this park. I think this is something we’re all going to be very proud of for generations to come.”

Also taking part in the groundbreaking were City Council members Kenneth Morgan and Susie Keck. Morgan said after the ceremony that he was disappointed more members of the community did not turn out for the event.

“This is huge for this community; it’s an historical event that is going to impact and change the whole city,” Morgan said. “I just want to say to all the constituents, especially those who are in the west (ward): We need to do better, we need to pull up and we need to support things that are actually happening in our community that are going to change it and affect it.”

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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