Georgia County Government - August 2009 - (Page 12)

Feature Morgan and Newton Co Bank High Quality of Life On the cusp of metro Atlanta’s growth-intensive “eastern crescent,” Morgan and Newton counties are vying for economic development that will complement the region’s bona fide rural character and result in a sustainable future. By Deborah Dewberry, Editor A 12 s urban life ratchets ever upward in terms of being hectic, fastpaced, crowded and complex, the idea of tranquil country living seems to become the goal for more and more Georgians. While many a rural community in our state can claim to offer outstanding rural respite, Morgan and Newton counties, on the metro region’s growth-intensive “eastern crescent,” present an ideal of small-town life more authentic than many a small community so proximal to a major metro region. Although they differ, Morgan being predominantly still rural and Newton more urban, both stand as prime examples, in their region, of the state’s most elusive communities – small-town “gems” close enough to the big city to permit a reasonable daily commute. The thing is, few people want to leave after they come here. There is little exaggerating the beauty of the region’s low-lying, rural green vistas dotted with cattle and dairy farms, and, perhaps especially, the graceful antebellum architecture that still stands in both counties, testament to the reluctance of Union Gen. William T. Sherman to burn everything in the wake of his infamous 1864 march to the sea from Atlanta. The story of how Morgan County’s more substantial homes were spared the destruction of Sherman’s torches – but not the county’s plantations, which were burned, is said to have involved a “gentleman’s agreement” between Gen. Sherman and Unionist, Sen. Joshua Hill. The Newton County seat, Covington, was also spared the destruction of Sherman’s determined troops, as were many of Newton’s own plantations. The tales of how these communities went through the furnace of the Civil War unscathed, compared to other cities, isn’t lost on those of us who may have wondered what Georgia might have looked like today had more of the cotton-rich plantations and the f ledgling cities springing up in their midst had not been razed. Rural vistas and tranquility aren’t the whole extent of the region’s allure, though. As is true of much of rural Georgia, in these parts the price is right, too. A substantial single- family home can be had for $150,000 to $200,000, though many a higher-end residential development is also available. Both counties perhaps offer the best “bang for the buck” in country living close to the city, compared to many other communities in the Southeast. And while a bona fide rural lifestyle thrives in the region, it is pre-eminently convenient. At most, they’re less than an hour or a half-hour from Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, due west on Interstate 20. The busy, coast-to-coast interstate connecting the Eastern Seaboard and California is only moments from the city center of Madison or Covington. Georgia Hwy. 278 is also proximal, as is a network of four-lane roads in both to accommodate residents and industries. Augusta, Athens and Macon are also easily accessible, to the immediate east, northeast or southwest. Add the burgeoning cultural offerings, vibrant town squares of county seats Madison and Covington, elegant residential neighborhoods, stellar youth programs, accessible higher education opportunities and exceptional community volunteerism, and it truly becomes hard to imagine a more desirable region of Georgia. Yet, it’s just this “country near the city” appeal that, all well realize, fuels the two-pronged challenge The Stanton Springs Industrial Park, a cooperative project involving Newton, Morgan, Walton and Jasper counties, seeks to attract high tech research firms and other businesses and is located just off Interstate 20 at U.S. Hwy. 278. Photo courtesy of Kristi Greco, Microsystems Specialist, Newton County Board of Commissioners. GEORGIA COUN GOVERNMENT GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT ORGI UNTY RNMEN

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - August 2009

Georgia County Government - August 2009
President’s Message
County Matters
Morgan and Newton Counties Bank High Quality of Life on Sustainable Growth
Georgia’s Unique Approach to Public Safety Training
Extension News: The Face of Poverty
Research Corner: ACCG Needs Your Participation in Burruss Budget Survey
Staff News
County Parade
ACCG Teams with Technology Provider, Dell
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - August 2009