Residents invited to join initiative

COVINGTON - A coalition of community organizations has launched a new initiative to take on some of the most pressing local problems and is inviting all residents to get involved.

The kickoff meeting for the initiative will be held at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at Turner Lake Recreation Center, 6185 Turner Lake Road.

The event, titled "Come to the Table to Build a Better Newton: A Breakfast to Celebrate and Plan for the Future of our Community," was planned to coincide with the local Martin Luther King Celebration Week leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21.

"In the face of rapid growth and change, it's become essential that we as citizens come together to work for and build a strong communication, and that's on all levels," said Josephine Kelly, director of Main Street Covington, a partner in the coalition.

At the meeting, a series of round-table discussions will be held on six topics: education, housing, crime and safety, health, transportation and a general open dialogue session on any other pertinent issues.

The purpose of the meeting is to "work out how we can collectively, through our non-profits, government leadership, community and civic organizations and as individuals, come up with some of the solutions to some of the issues that have been discussed," Kelly said.

"The invitation is right across the board to the whole community to be at the table," she added.

After the meeting, a document detailing the various issues discussed will be created, with a follow-up discussion set for February.

In addition to Main Street Covington, the Build a Better Newton initiative was launched by the Newton County Community Partnership and the Community Foundation of Newton County.

Other organizations taking part include Washington Street Community Center; Oxford College; Hands On Newton; the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee; The Center for Community Planning and Preservation; the African-American Historical Association of Newton County; the Newton County Recreation Commission; and Newton County Senior Services.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.