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Newton County’s University of Georgia Archway Partnership underway
UGA Archway Sessions

The University of Georgia’s (UGA) Archway Partnership has begun in Newton County. Community Wide Listening Sessions are the first step in getting the relationship underway.

Michelle Elliott, the director of the Archway Partnership, explained why these sessions are beneficial. 

“Community input is at the heart of everything we do at the Archway Partnership. Listening sessions are key for helping find consensus issues that everyone in the community wants to work on together,” Elliott said. “The report from these sessions will serve as the founding document for our partnership and will guide our collaboration.” 

The first listening session was on Saturday, Nov. 4 at The Center for Community Planning and Preservation. Four days later, the second one took place at Newton High School with the latest one being again at The Center on Nov. 9. 

Around 50 people have been a part of the listening sessions so far. 

In these sessions, attendees are split into groups along with a UGA facilitator at each table. Four questions are posed for participants to discuss.

“We are really looking to get a pulse on what people in the community see as challenges and opportunities, where there is momentum to work together and what people would like to see in Newton County in [10] years,” Elliott said. 

A survey is also available for community members’ feedback that will be open until the end of the year. Close to 200 responses have been received. 

Two more listening sessions remain for the community to attend. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, Alcovy High School will host it from 6-7:30 p.m. while the final one on Dec. 7 will be at Eastside High School at the same time. 

Elliott shared the overall mission in holding these listening sessions as the first step in the Archway Partnership. 

“The purpose of the listening sessions is to better understand the assets and opportunities in Newton County as part of our new partnership with the community,” Elliott said. “Sessions take about an hour and a half and will inform the prioritization of issues we will work on together over the next several years. These results will be available publicly in the Spring of 2024.”