New­ton County Q&A

The Covington News - - LOCAL -

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 rdewig@cov­

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.”

New­born Mayor

Greg Ell­wanger

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