New group works on New­ton plan­ning

The Covington News - - LOCAL - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­news.com For more on this story see Fri­day’s Dig­i­tal Edi­tion at cov­news­dig­i­tal.com

In New­ton County’s past gov­ern­ment groups worked separately, so when the wa­ter author­ity heard that the school board was work­ing to build a high school down Hwy. 36 it was a bit of a sur­prise.

The wa­ter author­ity had to work on get­ting pipes prop­erly equipped to han­dle Al­covy High School and any neigh­bor­hoods that would be as­so­ci­ated with it, all the way down Hwy. 36.

That was New­ton County’s yes­ter­day. Tues­day was the sec­ond meet­ing of New­ton County to­mor­row. A non­profit group orig­i­nally formed years ago that was re­cently re­or­ga­nized to help plan and shape the fu­ture of the county.

The group con­sists of 18 board mem­bers made up of elected of­fi­cials and cit­i­zens to widely rep­re­sent New­ton County. Board mem­bers are: Keith El­lis, New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers Chair­man, Ron­nie John­ston, Cov­ing­ton Mayor, Ar­line Chap­man, Por­terdale Mayor, Jerry Rose­berry, Ox­ford Mayor, Gregg Ell­wanger, New­born Mayor, Jef­fer­son Ri­ley, Mans­field Mayor, Ralph Staffins, Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent, Mike Hop­kins New­ton County Wa­ter and Se­warage Author­ity Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Sa­man­tha Fuhrey, New­ton County School Sys­tem Su­per­in­ten­dent, Eric Lee, Spring­field Bap­tist Church Pas­tor, Stephanie Lind­sey, At­tor­ney at the Lind­sey Firm, Aaron Brooks, lo­cal politi­cian, Ro­drick Baker, tele­vi­sion en­gi­neer, Phillip John­son, lawyer, Nor­bert Thomp­son, Tech­ni­cal Prod­ucts pres­i­dent, Frank Turner, re­tired Cov­ing­ton City Manager, David Waller, re­tired Wildlife Re­sources Divi­sioin direc­tor and Avis Wil­liams, com­mu­nity min­is­ter.

New­ton County To­mor­row gath­ered at Ox­ford City Hall Tues­day, along with group fa­cil­i­ta­tors John Devine and Burke Walker of the North­east Ge­or­gia Re­gional Com­mis­sion.

Devine asked the group sev­eral ques­tions about plan­ning and col­lab­o­rat­ing, help­ing to jump start New­ton County To­mor­row’s ef­forts.

Those ef­forts will help the group cre­ate fu­ture plan­ning, rang­ing from a com­pre­hen­sive plan to ways to shape New­ton County’s growth, to con­struc­tion and be­yond. The group is made up of both cit­i­zens and elected of­fi­cials, but its ef­forts will be a tool for lo­cal gov­ern­ments to look at. Any plans com­ing out of New­ton County To­mor­row will not be di­rectly sent to a board or coun­cil for ap­proval.

Tues­day the group also dis­cussed some dif­fer­ences to what they are do­ing now and the ill-fated 2050 Plan of a year ago.

“I think that the plan needs some scalpel­ing,” Turner said. “We need to go back to it with a scalpel, like a sur­geon.”

This time around, any plan will not only be com­mu­ni­cated to cit­i­zens, but helped de­vised by cit­i­zens, the group said.

In just its sec­ond meet­ing, the group is still work­ing on which di­rec­tion it will head down in help­ing to plan the fu­ture of New­ton County.

Dar­rell Everidge / The Cov­ing­ton News

Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston speaks at the New­ton County To­mor­row meet­ing in Ox­ford.

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