“What happened to my hometown” is a question I find myself asking way too often these days. I was raised in Covington. It was always a nice place to live; you didn’t have to lock the doors to your home or car, you could ride your bike until dark and could walk anywhere you wanted without fear of something happening to you. If you were from Covington, you were unfairly judged by everyone else in the county as thinking that you were better than they were. The local newspaper was called The Covington Leader. We had all the nice places, we were the place to be in the county. Schools were great; never once did anyone think of moving to go to a school outside of Covington. The baseball and softball complexes were full every weekend and I would say most every kid played that was able. Being from and living in Covington meant something.
Fast forward 20 years.
All of what I mentioned above is no longer true. You look up one day to see Atoka and Munford are now the places to be. They seem to care about the perception of their towns. They care about their appearance and standard of living. Covington on the other hand, not so much. There are very few places you can go in the city and not feel as if you have to look over your shoulder. There are many areas that have become dilapidated. There are buildings and homes that are or should be condemned and torn down, but they stand to be eyesores. There are places that are clearly public nuisances that are allowed to continue to operate.
The city of Covington, in my opinion, does not do enough to maintain and attempt to beautify the city.
There could be city ordinances made to require business along the highway to have landscaping, etc.
The parks are not maintained or policed as they should be.
You can not take your family to the parks anymore because people do not know how to act and are not held accountable for their actions; they cuss like sailors in public or make inappropriate remarks towards you, etc.
You cannot attend the local high school football games because you feel threatened and have to fight through a crowd of people saying every cuss word in the book just to get to the concession stand.
We have a nice baseball complex that we let go downhill year after year because money is not put into it to keep it maintained properly. We have a relatively new school (formerly Covington Middle School), the newest school in the city, now reserved for the kids that can’t seem to act right; that is absurd to me. If they cannot act right, let them finish their education in juvy.
Speaking of juvy, we are in dire need of a juvenile detention facility in Covington or Tipton County. Too many of these kids that are caught committing crimes are allowed to go free because there is nowhere to put them. Put them in Juvy and let instructors from the Vo-Tech school come and instruct them weekly. They obviously do not care about getting an education so teach them a trade in hopes that one day they can become productive members of society instead of milking the system.
Back to the subject of baseball and softball. Many kids these days are opting for travelling or competitive sports rather than stay in the local rec leagues. Maybe it is because it is more fun, etc. I cannot help but believe that it is a direct correlation between the dilapidation of our parks and not keeping them presentable enough and made to feel secure enough to ensure that parents want to keep their kids here to play.
The softball complex and organization is doing a wonderful job at keeping their facilities nice and doing all they can to make it a nice place to be. They can lure outside teams here for tournaments to generate income. The baseball facilities could not get people to come here if they wanted to.
Maybe Dixie Youth has run its course, here. Parents pay $85 per kid for a T-shirt. That seems silly to me because there is no telling how many kids do not get to play because of the steep registration fee. For $85, I think they deserve better than a T-shirt. Kids want fancy uniforms like they see on TV. They want to play on fields that are nice and not a hazard in some cases. Maybe a move to Little League is needed, who knows. The city will spend money to build a walking trail that will never be used, instead of taking care of and reconditioning the nice place they already have.
The baseball complex is a prime example of the lack of monitoring needed in the community; fields and concessions stands are constantly vandalized, etc.
It is not solely on the city. When did people get so busy that they cannot take the time to be involved in their kids’ lives? At one time, parents helped keep the fields in order and volunteered to work the concession stands and keep the books and make sure the kids had a working scoreboard during their games. That was part of the fun of the game as a child. Now you can not even get the coaches to attend work days on the field.
Everyone has the “Oh well, someone else will take care of it” attitude. They would also rather let their kids sit around on their dead behinds playing ball on Xbox than make them go out and play the real game.
Wake up people, you are failing your children. We have all heard of like father, like son. Kids pick up on the actions of their parents and in turn do as they did. That is why we are suffering the fate that we are now: An entire generation has come up thinking that someone else will take care of it. The biggest problem in the world today is that people do not help each other anymore. Part of it is that they just do not want to help and the other is that people do not want to help others because they see that they are helping people with no interest in helping themselves.
I wish I could change the world alone. As I’ve said before, it takes a village to raise a child. We have failed our youth and are not leaving this place in a better condition in which it was given to us. I believe that God calls ALL of us to do something about the troubles we see in the world today.
If I could say something to the mayor’s office it would be that you yourself need to take a little pride in the city in which you have been called to lead. Do not do the bare minimum. Look around you. We have become the laughing stock of the county. People do not want to come here. Crime is too high. There is much more to the city than just the square.
Don’t just “Clean Up / Fix up” Covington. Do something to beautify the city. If you can afford to put a senseless jet flying over the highway, surely you can do something to improve the resources for ALL of our youth, not just some. We have wasted more money on senseless and useless things rather than taking care of what already exists.
Raise taxes, get rid of the nuisances, create ordinances, tear down condemned properties, etc. You honestly cannot look back on what has been done and call it a success.
Don’t be one of those who in the twilight of their lives looks back and says, “I could have done more.”
I could go on for days, but I digress. We should all do any and everything to take our city back. Together, we can change the world.