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Newborn starts work on downtown park
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Newborn officials have begun work on a downtown park to continue efforts to build a tight-knit community and make the downtown a true community gathering spot.

The nearly two-acre park will be located next to city hall along Ga. Highway 142 and will be paid for by 2011 SPLOST funds. The park will include walking paths, a gazebo, a cooking pit, benches, a playground for young children and a white fence along the Ga. 142 to prevent any children from accidentally running out into the highway, Mayor Roger Sheridan said.

ConSouth, the Smyrna-based company that won the concrete bid for $42,000, is pouring concrete for walking paths and the base for the gazebo, Sheridan said.

Sheridan said the park will be a recreational center for the town and will likely play hosts to numerous events.

"Primarily the park will be an adult park, but there will be one corner for smaller children with swings, slides and those type of things, so mothers can come down there to talk to friends and bring the kids," Sheridan said. "We hope it will bring the town together."

While 2011 SPLOST funds will pay for the work, the town of Newborn will take out a line of credit with a local bank that will be paid off during the six-year period until the current SPLOST collections end. No money will come out of the general fund, Sheridan said.

In addition, the town's two public works' employees will attempt to do as much of the work in house as possible, including making concrete benches or repairing existing benches. Having town employees do the work will be cheaper than buying new materials.

Sheridan said the town is also checking auctions for cheap playground equipment.
"Towns in California and Kentucky are selling off playground and recreational park furniture because they're so far in the red," Sheridan said. "We're hoping to be able to buy some of those."

Sheridan hopes the park will be able to be used by the fall.

Zoning ordinance changes
The town is also trying to clarify its zoning ordinances and allow for a wider range of businesses, and is expected to pass a first reading of a revised ordinance Monday.

"We don't want any industry, but we would like to see a grocery store and other small businesses," Sheridan said. "We want to clarify the commercial neighborhood and other zonings so people can understand it better and it can cover a wider range of subjects."