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Another example of the good old-fashioned optimism being brought to Newton County by Baxter International's arrival is renewed talk of a civic center.

In 2008, just before the bottom fell out of the economy, development of a combined hotel and civic/conference center project in downtown Covington was on a fast track.

As the housing market collapsed, so did plans for the large multi-million dollar facility. However, the dreams never did.

Recently, the attorney for resident Freddie Neely said Neely was willing to donate up to 55 acres on the Covington Bypass Road to house both the civic center, as well as another SPLOST project, the agriculture center.
Whether this spot is ideal must be decided by community leaders, but we appreciate the offer being made and are glad the conversation is continuing.

Dreams of a center in downtown Covington remain vivid, but the realities of the situation, namely little available funding, call for the exploration of all options.

At this point, the potential funding and timeline are both unknown, but we're encouraged by the fact people are once again feeling confident enough in our current economy and community to bring the topic back to the forefront.