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Newton youth facility makes list of projects proposed for 2023 federal budget
U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Stonecrest, has included a planned Newton County youth facility on a list of 4th Congressional District community projects proposed for Congress’s annual spending plan for Fiscal Year 2023.

The 2023 Projects List proposed by Johnson includes $4 million for the planned Westside Youth Facility proposed by District 3 County Commissioner Alana Sanders. 

County officials have said they are searching for a site for the project and specified in a recent meeting they do not plan it for Fairview Community Park in the middle of the Fairview Estates neighborhood. 

The inclusion of the funding in the Appropriations Committee bills is the first step in the budgetary process for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, a release from Johnson's office stated. The 4th Congressional District includes western Newton, all of Rockdale and parts of DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

"Rep. Johnson will continue to fight for this funding as the bills are considered on the House Floor, and in negotiations with the Senate," the release stated.

The money will come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund, the release stated. 

Sanders said in an email to county commissioners that the federal money will be additional funding for the project.

"This is an exciting moment for District 3 and Newton County," she wrote.

"Based on the feedback that I received from the students in our school system, administrators, teachers, taxpayers, etc., I knew that the $4 million to build this facility was not enough," Sanders said. 

She said she applied for grants from U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Johnson. 

"The grant from Sen. Warnock did not support the building of a new facility but I will reapply once the building is complete and his office was very supportive to share with me more opportunities," she said. 

"This is why it is also important for your commissioners to build relationships outside of the county to bring back resources that can help our residents," she said. "Seeking grants are important to where we can do so much more for our communities in the county."

More than $10.2 million for the project also have been recommended for inclusion on a list of projects Newton County commissioners are considering to be placed before voters as part of a request for renewing the SPLOST on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The release from Johnson's office stated that, "This funding will make a critical difference in the lives of people throughout Georgia’s 4th District, including projects for MARTA, workforce development, affordable housing, resources for foster youth, education, PATH walking and biking trails, victims of domestic violence and legal aid for constituents who cannot afford an attorney."

Other projects on the list included $3.6 million for the Michelle Obama Trail in DeKalb County; more than $1.1 million for safe and stable housing, services and supplies, including the purchase of food, to improve economic outcomes of young adults transitioning out of foster care or experiencing homelessness; $750,000 for a Regional Clean Electricity Plan by the Atlanta Regional Commission; $200,000 for early childhood workforce development in Clarkston; $300,000 for a workforce development initiative in Conyers; $400,000 for Georgia State University to programs to expand access to postsecondary education, including English language proficiency support; and funding for a Stonecrest MARTA Transit Hub; affordable housing development by the city of Decatur; safe housing for domestic violence survivors in DeKalb County, Memorial Drive Gateways project in DeKalb County; and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

Johnson said, “It is my job to fight for our district in Congress, and I am proud to have put forward these critical projects from Clarkston to Conyers, Covington to Tucker and everywhere in between.”

“I will continue to fight for our district to ensure that we get the federal funding we need to make our community stronger,” he said.