Gil Gainer is a native of Newton County and a property owner on Highway 278. Although he has traveled and lived in other places, he says “the sense of the community the people of Newton County have is the best.”
He was a later addition to the board as he was selected to be Newton County’s representative. He felt honored to be asked to join the Highway 278 CID because he sees the benefits this can have on our community.
The first way Mr. Gainer sees the CID improving the city of Covington and Newton County has to do with the roadways themselves.
“There can be work along [the roadway] to improve the appearance, safety, and efficiency of traffic flow along that 278 corridor. We can improve the quality of life by creating new development and revitalizing the commercial areas on either side.”
Highway 278 is the center of the county and his goal is to see this corridor become a “destination point” instead of an avenue for commuting.
“We want to attract people to this area rather than continue to have the leakage of commercial business to Conyers and other surrounding areas.”
“The Highway 278 corridor is the heartbeat of our community.” The community is not only Covington but spreads to the whole of Newton County. Gainer understands everything has to be done in steps. It is important to be “patiently persistent.”
The plans of the CID take coordination between the state and local government to make improvements along the highway. The Board remains optimistic they will see their Master Plan eventually come to fruition. As these steps begin to take place “naturally it will draw more people to the area and encourage local businesses to improve and enhance the commercial properties along Highway 278.”
These projects are collective, and as they must happen in steps, the Board must see the holistic view of the future of Highway 278.
Unlike many of the other board members who joined the Legal Association of Property Owners and were part of the process in making the CID official, Gainer was selected to join the Board after the legal formation of the CID. Because of this, he has a different outlook on the challenges the CID has faced in the past. The main challenge continues to be funding because, he said, “We have created a district in which all of the property owners are contributing an additional tax towards those improvements but that’s only a small portion of the money necessary to make those improvements.”
Besides securing funding, “another significant challenge will be initially the roadway work and improvements because it takes the coordination of so many local governments; Covington, Newton County, and the Department of Transportation.” This challenge can be accomplished with “time, patience, and persistence.”
The important thing to remember is “just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.”
The Highway 278 CID is a “community effort” and board members must “continue to pursue the goal of improving this corridor.” The Board needs the support of the property owners along the corridor which means they need to “communicate well to help everyone understand the importance and significance of what we are doing.”
As communicators to the property owners, the community, and the elected officials the board must publicize the fact that the CID “impacts not just our immediate future but our long-term future.”
Gainer highlights the importance of seeking out those with expertise to support them in their endeavors. This includes the Thomas and Hutton engineers who created the Highway 278 CID’s Master Plan. The Board made their judgments based on “what will serve the corridor and the community the best.”
All Highway 278 CID Board meetings are open to the public and they make an effort to obtain thoughts and opinions from property owners on the corridor and other citizens. “We are doing our best to make these plans accessible to everyone for their consideration, input, and thoughts.”
Regarding the property owners in the community, they will benefit “by increasing their business and making the area more attractive, safer, and more efficient which will directly improve business.”
Once other property owners begin to see the true benefits of the CID they may want to become a part of the CID. By improving the corridor the CID will “make the investment of a property owner more attractive and more likely to create a better return on investment.”
People in business understand you have to invest to get a return. “The legislation allows for contiguous extensions of the corridor. The CID is not limited.”
The bottom line is, the board has to create excitement for the greater public. For those who have already observed the plans, there is interest and excitement there. We have added a website and a Facebook page as a way to stir up more interest in the community. “The real excitement is going to occur when things start visibly taking place. I wish this could be next week, but it really is going to take patient persistence to get this done.” Mr. Gainer wants to make sure the community understands “this is a great opportunity for us as a community to improve. While it will take time to accomplish these goals, now is the time to do it.”
If you have any questions about the CID contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to our website http://278cid.com. Master Plan- http://www.thomasandhutton.com/278cid/cid-master-plan.html