Newton County Q&A
This is part of an ongoing series of Q&A sessions with various top elected officials in Newton County. To suggest questions for specific city or county issues, email reporter Rob Dewig at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. How are things in Newborn this August?
“There’s a lot of traffic, a lot more vehicles going through” on State Highway 142. “There’s a lot of growth in the area. Jasper County is half a mile to our south; on our north is Morgan County, about a mile. We’re the closest town to Baxter (Pharmaceuticals).” The key to managing that growth is planning, which is why he supports the 2050 Plan, although not necessarily each part of it. “Municipalities will have the ability to use some of the new zoning and planning that’s going to be coming one way or the other. We’re going to be able to develop our zoning to fit that. I definitely want to see our growth continue in the right way as far as new businesses coming in.”
2. Might Newborn someday have its own police department? Today, the sheriff’s office patrols the town.
“Some of our residents have talked about having our own police department, but that’s a huge expense. We’re going to have to grow some more before that happens.”
3. Do you have plans to grow the community? If so, in what way?
“We have a lot of local residents good with guitars and banjos who play in the park on Fridays in the summer. We have the opry, in the old schoolhouse. I’d really like to see our community come together more often, maybe do a fall picnic at the park. There are grills out there. … And a sidewalk up to Family Dollar is in the works right now.”
4. Tell us about Newborn’s long-term future.
“My hope that not just my children, but 10 generations from now will still be able to live in a county that has a population that is proud to live in the county. You never own your land; you’re just stewards of it. That’s why there’s zoning. There’s already zoning in the county. With no (new) plan, anything just gets built and it goes away. What’s going on right now is fantastic. We want to keep folks involved in the process. It’s going to happen. Our (county) commissioners are not stupid people. They know what has to be done. We’re in this for the long haul. The main four principles (of the 2050 Plan) are a must. If you don’t protect your watershed, protect it from waste and sewage, if you don’t plan your transportation corridors the way they should go … do you really want to sit in a traffic jam just to go three miles? It happens in Marietta. It happens in Rockdale (County) on Salem Road. The main principle for government is quality development infrastructure. That’s what government is all about. You can’t be afraid to plan.”