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State to help retire debt

Covington County

will receive a bit of help in retiring debt associated with the Covington Center Arena.

House speaker Seth Hammett and State Senator Jimmy Holley announced that the Covington County Commission will receive a $100,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to help retire debt associated with the newly constructed center.

"I would really like to thank Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bishop for his help in securing this grant for the Covington County Commission," said Hammett. "I was pleased to assist the county commission."

"It makes sense to assist the Covington County Commission in developing this facility because of its potential economic impact on Andalusia, Covington County and South Alabama," said Holley.

Located on the Southern Bypass in Andalusia, the Covington Center is an 82,000 square foot, fully enclosed, indoor show facility.

Manager Tony Wells said the facility has a seating capacity of 2,500, dressing rooms and showers for show participants, connections for recreational vehicles and 196 horse stalls with wash racks.

"We really appreciate the assistance of Speaker Hammett, Senator Holley and Commissioner Bishop in getting this grant," said Wells. "Our Covington Center is fully operational and we are about 80

to 90 percent booked already."

County Commission Chairman Greg White said the county is grateful for the assistance.

"This is a project that Speaker Hammett has supported since inception and the commission is grateful for his leadership in this and other projects of interest to Covington County," said White. "The Covington Center has been living up to its billing. From the Civitan Rodeo, to the Car Show during the Andalusia City Fest, to the recent junior high and high school rodeo that brought over 300 contestants, and their families, to Covington County for two days, the arena has brought visitors to our community."

The Covington Center schedule from October through May, 2003 already reflects 24 events booked, with expectations of over 30 being held during that time.

"The commission is excited about the use of the facility by a cross-section of the community," said White. "Over the coming years, we believe that the center will become the hub of much of the activity that adds so much quality of life in Covington County."