What I Like About The 2050 Plan…..So far

The Covington News - - OPINION -

The 2050 Plan gives us, the cit­i­zens of New­ton County, a chance to con­trol our own des­tiny, rather than leav­ing fu­ture growth and de­vel­op­ment up to those whose pri­mary in­ter­est is lin­ing their own pock­ets. It gives us a chance, as a com­mu­nity, to unite be­hind a shared vi­sion of what our county should be in the fu­ture. Over the past decade, our lo­cal gov­ern­ments, school sys­tem and wa­ter and sewage depart­ment have strug­gled to deal with the ad­verse ef­fects of ac­cel­er­ated growth and poor de­vel­op­ment prac­tices. Our res­i­dents have been sub­jected to the un­due stress re­sult­ing from over­bur­dened ser­vices, whether it’s within our schools, on our roads or in our neigh­bor­hoods. We’ve sur­vived the crush­ing blow of a growth rate that has far sur­passed that of our state and our na­tion. This has not been easy.

What do we see for the fu­ture of New­ton County? Is it just to sur­vive? Do we want New­ton County to be­come a waste­land or hodge­podge of cheaply con­structed homes and unattrac­tive strip malls? Do we want our wa­ter and nat­u­ral re­sources pol­luted to the max? Do we want our agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity frus­trated by property taxes and pres­sure to de­stroy the land they have nur­tured, some­times for gen­er­a­tions? Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to pros­per, to live in a com­mu­nity that of­fers a bet­ter qual­ity of life for all?

Can we do that with­out plan­ning for our fu­ture? The an­swer is a def­i­nite no.

At this stage of the game the 2050 Plan is some­what of a mis­nomer. It is not a plan; it is a “plan un­der con­struc­tion.” It is a process that has been long un­der de­vel­op­ment. Much data has been col­lected and an­a­lyzed and in­ter­preted. Much of what is in the plan is al­ready in ef­fect and has been for a while. Many things are new and will stir de­bate.

It is now your turn to have a say in the mat­ter. I en­cour­age you to at­tend the meet­ings, ed­u­cate yourself, and en­gage in the process. Make sug­ges­tions. Of­fer con­struc­tive crit­i­cism. Dis­cuss your fears and con­cerns with some­one who un­der­stands the plan thor­oughly. Above all, avoid the dull echo of those driven by mis­trust, cyn­i­cism and de­cep­tion, those who would have the process end be­fore it ever gets started.

It is okay to dis­agree, it is okay to de­bate, but it would be egre­gious and harm­ful to New­ton County if the en­tire process of plan­ning for our fu­ture was de­railed. I be­lieve we can all ac­cept the need for a plan go­ing for­ward and that we want to avoid the mis­takes of the past. There­fore, you should put your two cents worth in while this process is un­der­way. It’s im­por­tant.

John M. Call­away


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