One significant loss Covington and Newton County suffered during the economic slowdown of the past few years is the loss of a layer leadership that once set both the county and city on a path of revival and planned growth.
In 1987, the beloved square that our city is centered around was - at best - shaby. The leaders of the day recognized there needed to be a change. So in 1987, they invited the national Main Street Program in to help revitalize this storied part of our history.
The Main Street program across the country is tasked with revitalization and preservation of previously abandoned downtowns.
Since its start in our community and through the efforts of many volunteers, the Main Street program has created a downtown district that is the envy of many other cities across the state.
Just this past spring a busload of community leaders from communities across Georgia visited our square and marveled at our successful revitalization.
During the past 24 years, Main Street's efforts have largely paid for themsevles by helping make the square a picturesque setting, which brings revenue to the city and county - through movie and television connections, and the tourism they bring - and local businesses, as patrons are drawn to the well-maintained city center.
The square also has resumed being the centerpiece of many community activities.
The Main Street program is funded by the city, county and a special hotel/motel tax levied on lodging establishments. In other words, much of the money that supports the organization comes from outside sources.
Recently we have been concerned at the negative attention that has been placed on this program by both members of the city council and board of commissioners. The Main Street program is one of the bright economic drivers in this bleak economy locally, and it should be nurtured and promoted by elected officials, not taken apart.
Some of our current leaders need to look back at our past leaders' positive action in regards to the future growth and prosperity of our community and emulate their visions.