Center conducts survey

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- The Center Facilitating Community Preservation and Planning is conducting a survey to determine how to attract and retain people age 40 and under in Newton.

The Attracting Future Generations to Newton County Survey will be underway through Jan. 28 and is available at http://bit.ly/NewtonGenerations and on Facebook by searching for "Newton County survey." People of all ages who live or once lived in the county are encouraged to participate.

The 10-question survey asks questions such as, "What top three things do you look for in a county?" Other questions include: "What top three things do you look for in a home?" "What do you like to do for fun?" "How do you prefer to get between home, work and other activities?" "If an elected official asks you 'What can I do to attract young people to Newton County,' what would you tell them?"

"We thought it might be interesting to find out what the next generation wants from their community," said Kay Lee, director of The Center. "This is the start of the first action we're taking to try to define or record direct feedback. The next generation is the one behind the ones who are making the decisions, behind the baby boomers. This last year is the first time we've had the younger generation of people elected to office."

Shamica Williams, assistant director at The Center, said the survey will also help make sure the 2050 Plan is on track with what residents want.

"They are the ones who will help everything come to fruition. They will be opening businesses, purchasing homes and they want to do it in a place that has things they're looking for, a place to raise their children, live, work and contribute," Williams said.

Ruth Miller, a research assistant with The Center, said the survey has only been up for a couple of days and already more than 50 people have responded.

"There's such as great range of responses. It will be interesting to see how we turn it around into recommendations for the city and county to act on," she said.

The survey may help developers learn what types of development they can market in the community as well as what types of businesses residents desire, she said. Miller is a former Newton resident living in Oakland, Calif. She filled out the survey and indicated one of her top desires would be to live within walking distance of a bar that is open on Sundays. She said it's commendable that elected officials are open to such feedback.

"It's so unusual for elected officials to say, 'I don't know the answer. What do you think?' People should realize that one good thing happening in the community is that elected officials are listening."