A newcomer to Newton County might not have appreciated the significance of what took place Thursday at the chamber’s monthly lunch link networking event.
If you’ve been around town a while, though, the sight of the seven men and women who sat down to talk with members of the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce about their communities was an impressive thing to behold.
Listening to the seven people take turns sharing with chamber members, it became impossible not to get excited about the potential we have in Newton County.
Porterdale Mayor Arline Chapman talked about her city’s new lofts and recreation opportunities, and even an incoming Waffle House.
In Oxford, Mayor Jerry Roseberry discussed the impact of Oxford College at Emory University and upgrades to public works — upgrades which paid off in a big way with last week’s storms.
Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he’s expecting 5,000 to 8,000 jobs in the next three years. His goals: make Covington the No. 1 place to live in Georgia, create careers and not just jobs and eradicate poverty in the city.
Banes noted, “It’s been a pretty fast nine months” since he took office. He pointed with pride to the work to avoid the construction of a regional landfill that had been feared for Newton County. Banes said county finances are improving and employees got a 5 percent raise after going without a pay hike for many years.
Greg Ellwanger, of Newborn, emphasized parks and festivals and said a trail and sidewalks could connect his city with Mansfield.
Speaking of Mansfield, Mayor Jefferson Riley noted an increase of traffic, more business growth and the possibility of joining forces with Newborn to create a police department.
Dally and Banes may have been the two most excited people to be on the podium. Banes spoke of a desire to be “One Newton,” and Dally cast a vision of something even broader.
“We’ve got to start thinking about regionalism,” he said, adding there are two “megasites” in his area that could be home to big-time industries that would have a huge impact on our economy, especially Newton and Walton counties.
“We have an opportunity to be a powerhouse in this state for the next decade,” Dally said.
We do, but it won’t happen if the six cities and our county government can’t work together. Let’s keep it going.
Our Thoughts is the view of The Covington News’ editorial board, which includes Editor and Publisher David Clemons and News Editor Jackie Gutknecht.