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Concerned about growth in county
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Dear Editor: Several years ago my daughter moved with her husband and two children to Newton County. I came down to visit her, and when it came time to return to my home, I could not bear to leave. Like so many who sojourn to this place of stately homes, rolling fields and gracious people I have come under its spell.

I know that the use of the word "spell" sounds a bit theatrical, but surely those of you who commute to Atlanta everyday can understand its true meaning. I like to drive down Wesley Street in Oxford, past "The Temple of Trees" that nurtured Emory College in its early years, and I try to block the scars along Emory Street and U.S. Highway 278 as I make my way to Covington Square.

It is truly remarkable that Covington has chosen to preserve its past as a direction-finder to the future. Lovely tree-lined streets shade the old homes and new neighborhoods attempt to emulate and reflect that which is good about the past, but even after several years of living here I never cease to be amazed at the quick transformation that one may experience in a matter of minutes as the unhurried past of Covington gives way to the fields, waterways and forests of Starrsville, Mansfield and Newborn.

I was concerned when Wal-Mart was built and the rebuilding of Hazelbrand and Alcovy Roads began. Traffic is so bad now, but Covington continues to grow. I wonder what will happen when the new hotel and convention center are squeezed into the remaining space behind the new county administrative offices. There will be no place left for needed expansion and more land will need to be purchased.

Why not let other hotels provide for our visitors? It looks to me like the current lodging establishments are not full to capacity. My son-in-law worries that the new hotel will have the same success as the one in downtown Macon (that one has been a disaster for the investors and the city of Macon).

A civic center would be nice if we really need one. I am retired and on a fixed income. I cannot afford many of the events planned to take place in the community. Oxford College has wonderful facilities and most events there are very inexpensive or free. There are still more facilities for events and conferences at our public schools and at the two local colleges, DeKalb Tech and Perimeter. Do we honestly need additional meeting spaces for business travelers in the county? What we really need is accessible handicapped parking behind the new administration building.

Isn't there an alternative that doesn't require spending so much money? We have mortgaged our children's future for so many things. Do we have to do it again to construct these unnecessary buildings?