Time to be a citizen

The idea of attending a public hearing, for many residents at least, is akin to the clichéd root canal. Don’t we have elected officials and city staff to make those decisions for us?

Yep. But there are times when local government officials and staff need input from those they represent. They aren’t clairvoyant. Local officials are not to be confused with those in Washington, who know everything we Americans want. We know that because they start every sentence with “What the American people want is [fill in the blank.]” Please, we can’t even agree on our favorite ice cream.

There are major, major changes coming to Newnan, especially in the downtown corridor. The city was recently awarded a $125,000 Living Centers Initiative grant by the Atlanta Regional Commission to come up with a future vision for the downtown area.

This is your chance to help determine what that future will look like. It’s part of what makes America great — that local citizens can, and should, determine their own destiny.

Among the projects included are the Newnan Hospital/University of West Georgia redevelopment project, the new Public Safety Complex, what to do with the existing Municipal Complex, the railroad commercial district, mill village, the Cole Town historic district, Chalk Level neighborhood, downtown parks and existing downtown commercial interests.

That’s a big list and an important one. As Tracy Dunnavant, the city’s planning director, said in a recent interview: “I cannot stress how important it is for our citizens to be involved in this process. It is their chance to determine how they want their downtown to evolve and grow over the next 20 years.”

You have your first opportunity tonight. The first of four meetings will run from 6-8 p.m. at the Newnan Carnegie Library. Show up and comment, or send your thoughts to Dunnavant at tdunnavant@cityofnewnan.org. The future of downtown rests on this. It’s like not voting. If you don’t vote, you really don’t have the right to complain.

So get involved.

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