The 2050 Plan gives us, the citizens of Newton County, a chance to control our own destiny, rather than leaving future growth and development up to those whose primary interest is lining their own pockets. It gives us a chance, as a community, to unite behind a shared vision of what our county should be in the future. Over the past decade, our local governments, school system and water and sewage department have struggled to deal with the adverse effects of accelerated growth and poor development practices. Our residents have been subjected to the undue stress resulting from overburdened services, whether it’s within our schools, on our roads or in our neighborhoods.
We’ve survived the crushing blow of a growth rate that has far surpassed that of our state and our nation. This has not been easy.
What do we see for the future of Newton County? Is it just to survive? Do we want Newton County to become a wasteland or hodgepodge of cheaply constructed homes and unattractive strip malls? Do we want our water and natural resources polluted to the max? Do we want our agricultural community frustrated by property taxes and pressure to destroy the land they have nurtured, sometimes for generations? Wouldn’t it be better to prosper, to live in a community that offers a better quality of life for all?
Can we do that without planning for our future? The answer is a definite no.
At this stage of the game the 2050 Plan is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not a plan; it is a “plan under construction.” It is a process that has been long under development. Much data has been collected and analyzed and interpreted. Much of what is in the plan is already in effect and has been for a while. Many things are new and will stir debate.
It is now your turn to have a say in the matter. I encourage you to attend the meetings, educate yourself, and engage in the process. Make suggestions. Offer constructive criticism. Discuss your fears and concerns with someone who understands the plan thoroughly. Above all, avoid the dull echo of those driven by mistrust, cynicism and deception, those who would have the process end before it ever gets started.
It is okay to disagree, it is okay to debate, but it would be egregious and harmful to Newton County if the entire process of planning for our future was derailed. I believe we can all accept the need for a plan going forward and that we want to avoid the mistakes of the past. Therefore, you should put your two cents worth in while this process is underway. It’s important.