COVINGTON — The list of projects requested by three members of Newton County’s Public Facilities Authority covers a wide range with a total price tag that is largely conjecture.

A special called meeting of the Public Facilities Authority was initially set for Jan. 19 to discuss the issuance of $4.9 million in bonds for a fire station on Big Woods Road and for the election of officers. Authority membership is made up of the five district commissioners.

Prior to the meeting, however, authority Chairman Demond Mason, who represents District 2, amended the agenda to have discussion of the district-specific projects precede the fire station bond discussion.

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County Manager Lloyd Kerr told authority members “a lot of questions” remain to be answered about the cost of the projects. He also said the projects need to be brought before the Board of Commissioners for approval before they can move forward. However, authority members went ahead and approved the project list Tuesday, while tabling the fire station bond resolution.

Commissioners Mason, Alana Sanders (District 3) and J.C. Henderson (District 4) sent a list of their requested projects to Board of Commissioners Chairman Marcello Banes, County Manager Lloyd Kerr and other commissioners on Jan. 18.

Projects requested by Henderson total more than $17 million; projects requested by Sanders total $13 million. An aquatic center requested by Mason at Denny Dobbs Park did not include a project cost; however, an aquatic center under development in neighboring Henry County is budgeted at $22 million.

The list, by district commissioner request and cost estimate, is as follows:


♦ Renovation of R.L. Cousins School — $9 million

♦ Plaque memorializing the Black Easter March — $200,000

♦ Renovation of Cousins band room to display school history — $50,000

♦ Football field/walking trail/playground — $500,000

♦ Creation of programming — $250,000

♦ Brown Bridge community park — $600,000

♦ Jack Neely community park — $600,000

♦ Nelson Heights Community Center splash pad — $250,000

♦ Expansion of Nelson Heights Community Center — $500,000

♦ Nelson Heights Community Center football field, soccer field and track — $625,000

♦ Concession stand/storage building — $250,000

♦ Programming for Nelson Heights Community Center — $250,000

♦ Restrooms — $100,000

♦ Security cameras — $200,000

♦ Pay off security monitoring at Nelson Heights — $60,000

♦ Renovation of Trailblazers Park — $250,000

♦ Covered swimming pool at Nelson Heights Community Center — $1 million

♦ Addition of local history room at Newton County Library — $2 million

♦ Cars for Sheriff’s Office — $625,000

TOTAL: $17,310,000


♦ Upgrades to Fairview Community Park — $5 million

♦ Community center with fitness center, gymnasium, business center, commercial kitchen, youth center and more — $8 million

TOTAL: $13 million


Full-service, year-round aquatic center — No cost estimate included

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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