Newborn to use SPLOST funds for renovations

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

Editor's Note: This story is part of a multi-part series on projects that will be funded if SPLOST 2011 is approved by voters in the March 15 special election. The SPLOST is expected to generate $57.6 million over a six-year collection period.

NEWBORN -- One of Newton's smallest municipalities is planning community improvements with their small portion of the SPLOST pie.

Based on the intergovernmental agreement between Newton County and the municipalities, the town of Newborn will receive 0.58 percent of SPLOST revenues, or a total of $336,840.

A large portion --$119,000 -- would be used to finish the renovation of the historic schoolhouse, now known as Newborn Community Center.

Painting of the interior and exterior, along with window and door replacements and other repairs are needed, according to Mayor Roger Sheridan.

"There's some maintenance that hasn't been done for years," Sheridan said.

The schoolhouse sat empty for more than a year while renovations were underway, including replacing the roof to make the building structurally sound. It reopened in October, and is now home to the Newborn Dixie Jubilee, a gospel and country music show. Town officials have hopes that the building will become the gathering spot for residents for family reunions, baby showers and other events.

Built circa 1923, the schoolhouse is owned by the town and maintained and leased by Newborn Area Heritage Trust.

If SPLOST is approved, the town will also receive $117,840 for transportation projects. Not all roads that may be resurfaced have been identified, but Timberlake Drive is top priority according to Councilwoman Martha Ellwanger. Installing sidewalks in some areas of town and expanding parking in the downtown area are other possible uses of transportation funds, Ellwanger said.

Finally, $100,000 will be allocated for recreation projects, which will likely be used to develop a park near Town Hall, according to Sheridan. The town owns 1.5 acres adjacent to the building.

"A lot of people have asked us to put some sort of park downtown. Rutledge has a park and a bandstand and it gets used, and Covington has the Square. We've had people ask us if we could have something downtown for Newborn to draw people in," Sheridan said.

No formal plans have been drawn up for the park because town officials don't want to commit any funds to the design before knowing whether SPLOST will be approved, Sheridan said.