Res­i­dents in­vited to cel­e­brate county

The Covington News - - Front page - GABRIEL KHOULI Staff Re­porter

Res­i­dents want to have con­ve­nient ac­cess to work, school and shop­ping. They want to pay the low­est amount in taxes pos­si­ble. They want to be healthy and live in a scenic place, and many of them want to be con­nected to the place they live. They want a high qual­ity of life.

New­ton County com­mu­nity lead­ers be­lieve they have a way to achieve all of these goals, but they need the sup­port of the public and want res­i­dents’ in­put.

Lead­ers are kick­ing off a se­ries of in­for­mal gath­er­ings, where res­i­dents will be able to eat, en­joy en­ter­tain­ment, talk to lead­ers and learn about their com­mu­nity and the 2050 Plan, a long-range guide that seeks to en­hance qual­ity of life lo­cally dur­ing the next four decades.

The public out­reach ef­fort is be­ing tagged Cel­e­brate Our Home and kicks off from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Satur­day at East­side High School. Four other events will be held in com­ing weeks at other schools around the county in an ef­fort to make sure at least one gath­er­ing is con­ve­nient for the all of the county’s 100,000 res­i­dents.

In ad­di­tion to talk­ing shop, Cel­e­brate Our Home seeks to cel­e­brate all the peo­ple, places and ac­tiv­i­ties al­ready tak­ing place in New­ton County. There will be live mu­sic, chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties and prize draw­ings.

Given the fact nearly 40 per­cent of New­ton County’s res­i­dents moved to the county within the last 12 years, Cel­e­brate Our Home also seeks to con­nect res­i­dents with each other.

While the goals of the 2050 Plan are sim­ple, the pro­cesses are more com­plex. Elected of­fi­cials and other lead­ers have dis­cussed the 2050 Plan for years, but Cel­e­brate Our Home is the first ef­fort to spread the plan’s core de­tails and tenants to the gen­eral public.

In or­der to have con­ve­nience, busi­nesses and schools must ei­ther be close or easy to get to. Sprawl — the op­po­site of den­sity — re­quires more roads and power and water lines, which cost money to build and main­tain. Den­sity is gen­er­ally cheaper, which can lower res­i­dents’ taxes.

Not ev­ery­one wants to live in a dense, ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, but one of the goals of the 2050 Plan is to in­crease den­sity in cer­tain ar­eas of the county, namely the al­ready dense western half and cen­tral swath, while pro­tect­ing the ru­ral life­style and beauty of the rest of the county. The even­tual goal is to have 89 per­cent of the county’s pop­u­la­tion liv­ing on only 37 per­cent of the county’s land in com­pact com­mu­ni­ties that com­bine res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial and civic uses.

To learn more about the plan or Cel­e­brate Our Home visit www.cen­ternew­ton.org, call 770788-0484, or email the event’s or­ga­nizer Anna Lid­dick at anna@the­cen­ter-new­ton.org.

These trees, lo­cated in Mans­field, are an ex­am­ple of the kind of ru­ral beauty the 2050 plan aims to pro­tect.

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