Covington City Council.jpg

The Covington City Council is made up of (front, left to right) council members Anthony Henderson, Fleeta Smith Baggett, Susie Keck, Hawnethia Williams, (back, left to right) mayor Steve Horton, council members Don Floyd and Kenneth Morgan, and city manager Scott Andrews.

COVINGTON — Loud music and cars speeding down a neighborhood street in Nelson Heights have Covington Council member Hawnethia Williams concerned that the city and police are not doing enough to combat the situation.

Williams expressed her concerns during the City Council meeting on July 6.

Williams said she had received an email from a woman living on Puckett Street in Nelson Heights about cars speeding up and down the road and playing loud music at all hours of the night. Williams said this has been going on for years with nothing being done.

“The neighbors have gotten very disenchanted when I’ve talked to them,” Williams said, “because some of the elderly people have been out there for years and said to the lady who had just moved in three years ago and sent the email that there was no sense in her trying to get the city to do anything, because they’ve been dealing with the issues for so long they know that nothing is going to happen because the city doesn’t care about that area.

“The problem has been for years, and they’ve called in reference to speeding on that street continually. There will be parties in the community not approved by anybody with people from other areas coming out there. Every Friday there are these guys speeding up and down the street starting about 4 p.m. in the afternoon and going until 1 a.m. in the morning with the noise.

“This lady said it is stressful, that it is hard to go to sleep and she has to get up early to go to work, because they are out making noise on the street, speeding up and down, and when they call the police, they come, but nothing changes,” Williams continued. “She says they feel there is no real connection between the city and them like there is in other areas of the city. They feel scared, hopeless and helpless about their conditions.”

Fellow council member Anthony Henderson, who grew up in Nelson Heights and has lived there his whole life except for the last couple of years, said he understands what Williams said, but felt like things have changed.

“From my point of view, the big problem in Nelson Heights is the road conditions,” Henderson said. “For years we’ve been saying we were going to do something this year or next year, and it never happens. We’ve had town hall meetings over there and discussed improving the roads.

“They think they’re not being heard, but they are being heard,” he added. “I think the problem is the timing in getting things done. I think a lot of times we think that once we bring something up, it will happen overnight, but that’s not the case. I say be patient and know that I’m working for you guys out there.”

But Williams disagreed.

“I beg to differ with my colleague, Mr. Henderson,” she said. “It’s been many years, way before you came on the council, that these issues were discussed. When you’re elderly and see nothing happening, it is more than you can understand.”

City Manager Scott Andrews said the city is looking into the issue from both the side of law enforcement and streets. He said he, Henderson and Public Works Director Kevin Sorrow drove around the area the previoius week and will be sharing the paving process with the council soon.

Mayor Steve Horton added that the issue is more than the city can handle on its own.

“I don’t believe the city on its own will be able to solve the problem,” Horton said. “It’s always going to take the community being an active part in what is going on, because if dangerous, reckless behavior is going on and nobody calls in and reports it, then bad things may happen before anybody can get there and do anything about it. So we need to work together.

“I’m hoping that this will be a process that we pull everyone together into it and to try to work and talk about how we going to be able to make it better in a collaborative way. If everybody is just depending on the city, we’re going to let them down. But if we work together, we can achieve results we like to see. I think we need to have town hall meetings in each community. We can achieve our best together.”

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Senior Reporter

I've worked in community newspapers for 30 years, including Editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus from 1993-1999. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016. Started as Senior Reporter at the Jackson Progress-Argus in December 2019.

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