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Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 1D

Vision 2014 What do YOU see?

Coweta County is a special place to call home. After two decades of rapid growth, with Coweta among Georgia’s fastest-growing communities, an expanding population has brought with it great change, great challenges and great opportunities. For this annual special Vision section, The Newnan Times-Herald talked with local government, community leaders and residents about what makes Coweta special. They shared highlights of projects and developments completed, and what may be down the road — from new fire and police facilities, to college campuses, to the expansion of the area as a “medical mecca.”

Coweta County/ Government pages 1D, 2D

Industry/Business pages 1D, 3D, 4D

Quality of Life pages 1D, 5D, 6D

Education pages 1D, 9D, 10D

Cities NEW NAN



pages 9D, 10D, 11D


Public Safety

Quality of Life

page 12D

Down on the Square Newnan’s music and art scene is thriving, thanks to revived, old-fashioned town square By BRADLEY HARTSELL

eat at Fabiano’s or Redneck Gourmet but would head home immediately afterwards. Now, with live music downtown and places to stop in for a drink, Kees believes many are eager to mill about the business district after dark. “That night felt different, like a beginning, not a peak. It made me feel like if I’m home on a Saturday night, I might go to the Square to just hang out and see what’s going on. “Businesses are staying open after dark. There’s a reason to come to the Square.” Kees is also excited about Coweta County’s music scene. Between Ten East Washington, Jekyll and Hyde’s, The Alamo, The Cellar and Twilight in Newnan, and Southern Ground Social Club in Senoia, there’s plenty of opportunities for both established and budding musicians to find places to perform.

On a Saturday night before playing a benefit concert at The Alamo, Doug Kees looked around Newnan’s Court Square and saw something he hadn’t seen in years: a crowd of people hanging out after dark. “It was a nice night, warmer than it’s been in awhile. I’ve been on the Square for years and thought, ‘Where are all these people coming from?’ All of a sudden, the downtown area has blossomed.” Kees, who owns Musicology in Newnan and teaches music at The Heritage School, met a friend for coffee at Leaf and Bean the next week and told him about his Saturday night surprise. Even as Kees spoke to his friend in mid-afternoon, a healthy crowd was strolling through downtown. Kees believes the increase in activity is due to the options downtown now provides, from the newly opened Meat ‘N Greet restaurant to Ace Beer Growlers. He says, in the past, many locals would

MUSIC & ARTS, page 5D

Coweta County/Government

Improved fire protection, storm warning system By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL

The past year has been a meaningful one for Coweta County. I n 2 01 3 , Cowet a ex per ienced a n improvement in its ISO rating for fire protection, installed an up-to-date early warning storm siren system, opened Brown’s Mill Battlefield historic site, and reduced impact fees to zero, spurring economic development. In 2011, Coweta’s rating from the Insurance Services Office was lowered from a 6 to a 5. A lower rating indicates better fire protection. The Coweta County Fire Department then requested a review,


hoping the rating could be improved even more. In the summer of 2013, ISO lowered the rating again, to a 4, effective Sept. 1. In December, storm siren systems were installed. The 16 sirens are located in Newnan, Senoia and Haralson. The battlefield site, which Coweta purchased in 2001, opened in July 2013. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War battlefield will bring celebrations, including a reenactment of the battle, and living history presentations in downtown Newnan. Coweta saw a major change in 2013 with the retirement of long-time County Administrator Theron Gay. Gay retired in July after 20 years as county administrator


and 40 years as a county employee. A s si st a nt Cou nt y Ad m i n i st r ator Michael Fouts was named Gay’s successor. The Business License department is now part of the Planning Department. “Plans are to continue the consolidation process with other departments. The Finance Department and human resources are moving to a new software application, as well,” Fouts said. “We are evaluating the delivery of service to the citizens and deciding what is most effective.” Fouts emphasizes the county’s focus on customer service. County employees who interact with the public will now wear name tags, and the county is developing

Coweta schools hope for funding By CELIA SHORTT





‘World class health care’ Bradley Down, general manager of Cargill Meat Solutions in Newnan, is serious about Coweta County becoming a medical mecca. He does more than just heap praise on local facilities, he uses them as selling points in recruiting talent to his company. “If you have a young family, you look for great

a program to guide visitors around the maze-like administration building. Several departments, such as planning and zoning and the building department, are now able to accept credit cards. The Coweta County Public Library System now offers e-books. The Coweta County Board of Commissioners’ reduction of impact fees to zero also allows the county to become more business-friendly. And “I think you’ll continue to see more of that,” Fouts said. Several years ago, the county began

Piedmont Newnan Hospital moved to its

new facility on Poplar Road in spring 2012. The hospital is on a 100-acre campus with views of trees for patients.

School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker, right, and Human Resource Director Vince Bass show population and school enrollment information to members of the County Board of Education at a recent work session.

Coweta County hopes 2014 will be the year student and employee resources are restored and not cut. “Indications are the governor’s budget for next year includes additional money for public education,” said Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. “We hope this will help our students and our employees.” According to Barker, in the last four to five

FUNDING, page 9D

2D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

Major road projects in works for Coweta

Coweta Count Governmen y/ t

improved Continued from page 1D

using an online agenda and minutes system for meetings of the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Recently, a video feed was added. The video streams live during the meeting. Once archived, viewers can click through the agenda to watch specific parts of the meeting instead of watching it in its entirety. Anyone can view the videos, agenda materials and minutes by visiting The information may also be accessed on the county’s homepa ge , w w w. cowe t a . Another improvement in public involvement was the

By Sarah Fay Campbell

addition of “QR” codes. Scanning the code with a smartphone directs t he viewer to a we b site t h at of fer s information. Coweta Communications Manager Tom Corker has continued expanding the county’s social media usage. Recreational options have a l so b e en ex pa nde d a nd improved in the county. Phase II of the “Central Park” fields is currently under way. Beginning as a makeshift soccer field adjacent to the Central Library, the park has evolved into a memorable spot. In Phase II, the county will pave the parking lot and add new fields. Phase III will include lighting and a convenience station with restrooms and even a community center.

Coweta County continues to prepare for big changes, includi ng severa l proposed road projects. The biggest project, a new Interstate 85 interchange at Poplar Road, will begin in 2016. Second to the interchange is an extension of the Newnan Bypass. This project is scheduled to begin much sooner — by summer’s end. The project includes not only the extension, but a widening of Hwy. 16 from the Bypass to U.S. Hwy. 29. The widening will include a reconfiguration of the intersection of U.S. 29, State 16, and Pine Road. A new roundabout for the Five Points intersection of Poplar Road, Turkey Creek Road, MLK and East Newnan Road is a joint project of county and city and will include the realignment of a portion of Turkey Creek Road. The project will be paid for with local funds, which will allow it to progress quickly. It’s important that both the Bypass and Five Points projects

be opened to traffic before the Poplar Road interchange opens. The county recently unveiled plans for improvements to Smokey Road’s intersection with Old Corinth and Belk Road. The proposal would relocate the intersection to the west. Belk and Meadow Sweet Way would also be moved slightly, so there would be a four-point intersection. Both new intersections will have traffic lights. T h at proje c t i s about a year away, with construction expected to take 18 months. Coweta is moving forward with annual upgrades, with the help of Georgia Department of Transportation Local Maintenance Improvement Grant funds. In using funds, the county repairs or stabilizes local roads before degradation leads to a need for complete repaving. “If a road can be stabilized before it gets that way, we save t housa nds,” sa id Assista nt County Administrator Michael Fouts. The county has recently completed an update of the Joint

Among projects in Coweta’s transportation plan is an interchange for I-85 and Poplar Road.

Comprehensive Transportation Plan. The plan includes projects for Coweta and its seven municipalities to be done over the next 30 years. The plan includes $673.4 million in road and bridge projects, as well as proposed bike and pedestrian improvements and transit projects. Consultants working on the CTP update are also completing a transit study and action plan. “The county currently has a

‘dial-a-ride’ style transit service, but the county population has grown, creating a need for other transit options,” said consultant Rod Wilburn. Possibilities include expanding the current service, an Xpress Bus route from Newnan to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and adding a second Xpress Bus park and ride lot near I-85 Exit 51. “We expect the study to continue over the coming months,” Wilburn said.

New Madras station among improvements for Coweta FD By Sarah Fay Campbell

The Coweta County Fire Department has completed many notable upgrades in the past several years, particularly in 2013. And Chief Johnny Teeters has more plans for the future. Station 6 in Madras opened in late 2013 in a new location that provides better coverage in the area. The stateof-the-art station replaces a smaller one at Greentop Road. Shortly after Station 6 opened, a Coweta Emergency Medical Service unit moved in. For years, an ambulance was stationed in the area, at the offices of Vital Care EMS, the county’s former long-time EMS contractor. But when AMR won the contract, the ambulance moved to AMR’s headquarters at the Newnan South Industrial Park, located several miles away. The unit, one of two at AMR’s headquarters, moved north to Station 6.

EMS units are located at Station 4 in Moreland, Station 6, Station 7 on Fischer Road, Station 8 on Dixon Road in Welcome, Station 10 in Senoia, Station 12 on Ebenezer Church Road, and at the AMR headquarters at Newnan South Industrial Park off U.S. Highway 29 S. at the Newnan city limits. The CCFD’s “advanced life support” vehicles have also aided in medical response. These SUVs a re out f it te d w it h n e a rl y e ve r y t h i n g a n a mbu la nce h a s . They are strategically located at the stations that are farthest from Teeters an ambulance. The ALS engines are at Station 9 on Corinth Road, Station 14 on Tommy Lee Cook Road, and Station 15 on Gordon Road. Though they respond to many fires, up to 80 percent of CCFD requests are

medical calls. Firefighters respond to all medical calls, usually arriving before the ambulance. In the past, all CCFD personnel were either EMTs, paramedics, or certified First Responders. Now, firefighters are also training to be EMT level. Recently, the CCFD has taken older 4-by-4 pickup trucks and turned them into medical squads. Now, when firefighters respond to medical calls, they arrive in these trucks. This saves wear and tear, tires, and fuel on the large and expensive fire engines. It also means medical squads can arrive in places a fire engine might have trouble reaching. In 2013, the CCFD’s new maintenance facility opened behind the new headquarters on Turkey Creek Road. Mechanics can now provide maintenance and repairs to engines and other equipment inside at the new facility. With the new facility, mechanics

can do work in-house that previously would have had to be contracted out. The department is also continuing rehabilitation of older stations, making them more energy efficient and suitable for both male and female firefighters and EMS personnel. The fire department is starting new programs aimed at helping Cowetans survive fires. Chief Teeters plans to stock every fire department vehicle with smoke detectors, batteries, ladders and drills. If there is not a working smoke detector in a home they answer a call to, they will install one. Another program in progress is one that will identify all special needs children in the county. Special needs specifics will be entered into computers, and if a fire or medical call ever comes in from a special needs child’s home, it will include information for firefighters about where the child’s bedroom is, along with other life-saving details.

Teeters wants to gather similar information about adults and elderly indicating if a resident is on oxygen, is mobility impaired, etc. Fire department personnel visit assisted living homes to provide blood pressure checks and to talk to residents about fire safety. Firefighters also go to schools with a fire safety puppet show, fire safety house, and, of course, fire trucks. “We owe our community so much,” according to Teeters, because of the approval several years ago of the $20 million bond initiative that has made so many of the improvements of the past few years possible. He feels the CCFD has a wonderful relationship with Coweta 911, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, and Coweta EMS. A nd he’s proud of his people. “We’ve got a great workforce,” he said. “We’ve got something very special right here.”

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Industry/Busi ness

‘Ambience of positivity’ By Bradley Hartsell

Ru Pea rl Sh a r pe’s f r iend wanted to know why Cancer Treatment Centers of America put its Southeastern regional facility in Newnan, a place not well-known to much of America. Why not Atlanta? Sharpe didn’t know the practical answer, but she had her own theory. “God knew I would need it. He put it here, and everybody else is benefitting from it as well.” Sharpe, who lives in Sharpsburg, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She was diagnosed with cancer again in 2010, and once more in August 201 3. After the third time, Sharpe had foregone traditional medicine and sought the integrative approach of CTCA in Newnan. When she walked into the facility, any trace of doubt Sharpe may have had vanished. “There’s this ambience of positivity. I told my husband, ‘I belong here,’” Sharpe said. CTCA has f ive facilities spread throughout the country, including the Newnan hospital, which opened in 2012. Si n c e t h e o p e n i n g , t h e Newnan facility has expanded considerably, adding to the campus, subsequently creating jobs. W hen Sh a r pe’s husba nd was transferred to North Carolina for work, she decided it was best for her to stay home in Coweta. She felt she needed CTCA. “My mind was made up to stay,” said Sharpe, whose husba nd shock i ng ly received a tranfser back home after just three months in North Carolina. “CTCA really puts Coweta on the map,” Sharpe said. “I’ve met so ma ny people from everywhere.”

D r. P at r ic i a Joh n s on , a naturopathic physician, moved to Newnan six months ago, after 17 yea rs in CTCA of Phoenix. “I was so taken with everything here. “It’s a small town, but there are many forwardthinking people here.” Not only did Newnan’s community draw her from Phoenix, Johnson says CTCA brought in a physician from Hawaii and three practitioners from Canada. “They’re drawing people from all over,” she said. When the hospital opened, officials projected 500 employees within five years. In August 201 3, one yea r after opening, CTCA already had 600 employees. Batson-Cook Construction is currently building a new $48 million addition to the Newnan facility. The hospital will be upgraded with the addition of 121,000 square feet of new space and 30,000 square feet of remodeled space. “After the successful completion of the original hospital, we are pleased to have been asked to return to the campus for this major expansion,” said Randy Hall, president and CEO of Batson-Cook. “These new additions will add much-needed space for the hospital.” With the inevitable growth of the hospital, Johnson sees a mirroring effect happening in the community. Johnson is already plugging in quickly to the Newnan way of life. She recently attended the Newnan Carnegie Library Foundation benef it dinner, “Tuscany at the Table,” at local event facility Something Special, and says she’s getting involved with a community garden. “I love the oldness and history of the town,” she said. “CTCA technically brought me here, but Newnan really brought me here.”

Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 3D

health care

Coweta poised for success in industrial development

Continued from page 1D

health care and great schools. We’re lucky enough to have both,” Down said. Down emigrated from Canada 15 years ago. When deciding where to relocate, he saw a community in Newnan that could continue growing. Down recruits potential employees from all over the country and he does more than just tell them Coweta has renowned health care. He takes them there. He shows them what he believes to be one of the crown jewels of Coweta. “Pa r t of bei ng a hea lt h care epicenter is it’s great for the economy, but it’s also a great recruiting tool,” Down said. “Having Piedmont and CTCA right here in Newnan is importa nt. It creates a place people want to move to because it attracts world-class talent.” For Down, there’s beauty in a small town that is lost in bigger cities where quality healthc are is normally found. It is essential to be able to show potential lifelong Cowetans the green landscape in the area and still reaffirm their health care options. Down doesn’t think it gets any better than that. But a proud medical community doesn’t happen overnight, and Piedmont Newnan C h ief O p er at i n g O f f icer Na t h a n N ipp e r b e l i e ve s Coweta is only scratching the surface. “There is a strong responsibi lit y to hea lt h ca re i n Coweta. It dates back almost 100 years,” Nipper said, who believes Coweta’s rich history played a role in the 2012 opening of the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital facility. “Recently, we had the opportunity to develop a medical campus here on Poplar Road. We’ve ensured development for the future.” Only 38 of the ca mpus’ 100 acres are in use and Nipper is not comfortable with Piedmont in a static state. He wants to continue seeing growth and he’s confident in that vision. Nipper said that, over the past year, Piedmont grew its baby labor and delivery department by 28 percent. In the past, he says, without

By Clay Neely

N a t h a n N i p p e r, c h i e f operating officer of Piedmont

Newnan Hospital.

Bradley Down, general manager of Cargill Meat Solutions in Newnan, is serious about Coweta County’s rising star as a medical mecca.

the proper resources, Piedmont Newnan saw families going elsewhere to have their babies. I n a dd i t i on , P i e d m on t achieved a higher level of neonatal intensive care, another ex a mple of t he ho s pit a l increasing specialty services in the community, according to Nipper. These expanded services are not only helping families in Coweta stay in the area for a host of medical needs, they are making ripples outside of the county, even outside the state. “We’ve become a beacon for specialists. People really wish to work here,” Nipper said. Nipper, for all the positives he sees in Piedmont and the Coweta medical community as a whole, still admits there is room for improvement. For example, he wants to see the hospital do a better job at building relationships with educational facilities. “We’ve drawn attention to ourselves with this medical infrastructure,” said Nipper. “Providers outside of this community have noticed that, not just Piedmont, but the wider medical community.”

With expansions, business openings and the groundwork for opportunity, Coweta County is poised to enter an unprecedented period of economic growth, according to Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority. “Over the course of 2013, t he ex pa n sion of C owe ta’s existing companies has been one of the most exciting aspects of development we’ve seen,” Wright said. “We are excited about the opportunities that are presented with CTCA (Cancer Treatment Centers of America). They forecasted 500 jobs in five years, but hit the target in the first year,” Wright said. “We’re glad they chose to locate here.” Wright also cited Yamaha’s decision to transfer ATV production from Japan to Newnan as a major milestone for economic development. With more than 1,250 employees, Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation is one of Coweta’s largest employers. Wright recalls Yamaha’s announcement for the groundbreaking ceremony in 1986. “It snowed the night before the ceremony and you know how the snow can shut everything down in this state,” Wr i g h t s a id . “ Yo u k n e w

Yamaha was a big deal because even with 3 inches of snow, the governor still f lew in and the ceremony st i l l happened.” Other notable ex pa nWright sions of 2013 included Yokogawa, Winpak Films and Air Power Hydraulics. On the horizon, Wright forecasts a growing emphasis on recruitment of more manufacturing jobs. The early March announcement from Niagara Bottling to build a 450,000-squarefoot facility in Shenandoah Park marks another landmark achievement for the industrial sector in Coweta. The company is anticipating completion of the building in late 2014. Making sure that Coweta maintains viable facilities for potential companies to view is paramount, according to Wright. Wright believes Coweta is a great location for industrial property. “We’re in the perfect position and we have the right resources in place,” Wright said. “The next couple of years are going to be great.”

Bonnell continues shift toward future By Clay Neely

Bonnell Aluminum, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corporation, announced in February that its new extrusion line has begun production and the volume ramp-up is progressing as planned. “We are excited about our early entry to the automotive

industry, at a time when fuel efficiency standards are driving growth in aluminum content in vehicles,” said Brook Hamilton, president of Bonnell Aluminum. “With our state-of-the-art equipment, outstanding technical resources, and registered

bonnell, page 4D


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4D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

Industry/Bus iness

Redevelopment and ‘opportunity’ for Newnan By Clay Neely

The proposed Newnan Behavioral Hospital would convert part of the old Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Hospital Road into a privately funded behavioral health facility.

Behavioral hospital could spur growth By Clay Neely

According to Hasco Craver I V, bu si ness development director for the city of Newnan, the proposed Newnan Behavioral Hospital planned campus on Hospital Road could be a catalyst for new economic growth on the west side of Newnan. “The plan is to continue to support Newnan Behavioral Health hospital,” Craver said of efforts to get approval from state health officials for a Certificate of Need for the project. When Piedmont Newnan Hospital relocated to a brandnew hospital campus on Poplar Road, it took many existing services along. With the proposed behavioral hospital hoping to reoccupy the vacant facility, Craver sees potential for revitalization. Craver feels the growth of services related to the behavioral hospital, such as holistic wellness centers, outpatient psychiatric and emotional counseling services, would benefit traditional commercial retailers in the area. “Just having the investment in the hospital would have a tremendous impact. You’ll have more daily traffic — more pedestrians and people. You’ll

also have a fully staffed hospital with employees that will need to eat and run their daily errands. It’s safe to say we would see more on the commercial retail front than say Piedmont enjoyed,” Craver said. “That’s how I see it really working to assist that commercial trade area. Increasing that markets potential for consumer goods and services.” However, Craver feels that there is one overlooked aspect of the proposed hospital. “Oftentimes it’s not reported, but since the very beginning, the hospital property has been in public hands and never privately owned. It’s always been either public or private nonprof it,” Craver sa id. “T he Newnan Behavioral Hospital would be a private, for-profit entity that could bring that property back on the tax rolls as a tax contributor.” “Depending on the transaction and sale, we would take 40 percent of that total (to determine property taxation). If they sell the building for $1,000,000 dollars, $400,000 dollars is now eligible for property tax. The city of Newnan would be serving them, sending police and fire, water and sewer,” Craver said. “But that’s new tax revenue.”

“Bonnell decided that they could use their skill set and know-how in order to get into a burgeoning area of the automobile industry,” said Hasco Craver IV, Newnan Business Development director.

bonnell Continued from page 3D

automotive quality management system, we believe we have positioned Bonnell as a premier supplier in this growing market,” he added. Ea rly i n 201 3, Bon nel l announced it was investing approximately $17 million in an expansion project at its manufacturing facility off Temple Avenue in Newnan. This project included the addition of a new 9-inch, 3,600-ton, stateof-the-art aluminum extrusion press fully dedicated to serving the growing demand for aluminum extruded components for automotive and light truck original equipment manufacturers. “Bonnell, from a community sense, was a huge announcement for us,” said Greg Wright, p r e s i d e n t o f t h e C owe t a County Development Authority. “The increased competition they had been facing over the years — to see them moving into a new line of business with the addition of machinery and employees — says a lot about the future of that company.” “You have to acknowledge Duncan Crowdis and his leadership,” Wright said. “He set them on a different course to help them grow. He retired a few months following that announcement but he set them up for the future.” Bonnell’s aluminum extrusion line is dedicated to serving the growing demand from automotive and light truck original equipment manufacturers. “Bonnell decided that they could use their skill set and know-how in order to get into a burgeoning area of the automo-

bile industry, whereby you’re seeing a number of manufacturers using aluminum products in the auto industry to create lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles,” said Hasco Craver, Newnan Business Development director. “Bonnell has great experience using t hat material and saw an opportunity within the automobile indust r y,” Craver sa id. “A lu m inum has been shopped as one of those materials that can lighten a vehicle to achieve the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standard.” Bonnell announced in July 2013 that it had achieved ISO/ TS 16949 registration from t he I nter n at ion a l Orga n ization for Standardization/ Technical Specification. This technical specification aligns global automotive quality systems standards and fosters the development of a quality management system for use in the automotive supply chain. “We know automotive and light truck manufacturers are facing more stringent fuel-efficiency requirements imposed by recently revised CAFE standards,” said Ira Endres, director of sales and marketing. “New fleets must be capable of meeting 54.5 miles per gallon in efficiency by 2025. To meet this requirement, in addition to power train enhancements, automobile manufacturers are also looking at reducing overall weight.” B on nel l A lu m i nu m i s a company “with deep roots in Georgia,” said Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development Chris Cummiskey. “We congratulate them on their success, and are delighted to see their continued expansion and investment in Newnan.”

Since becoming Newnan Business Development Director in 2011, Hasco Craver IV has taken the task of community redevelopment seriously. “ W h e n I f i r s t s t a r te d , the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s principal focus was primarily in housing,” Craver said. “I found that it was very important that we try to include some of the areas within those boundaries that included commercial properties as well.” Currently, targeted areas for redevelopment include Temple Avenue, Greenville Street heading south out of town and portions of Jefferson Street/ Bullsboro Drive, from Oak Hill Cemetery to the Eastgate shopping center. Craver feels 2013 was a great example of redevelopment in action. “We saw Ollie’s Bargain Outlet locate into the former Kmart space, which was a huge vacancy for the better part of two decades. That’s a great second generation use of an existing commercial center,” Craver said. “The Bullsboro Kroger updated itself with an interior and exterior redevelopment, including the installation of the fuel center. Badcock had been planning on moving for quite some time and found the shopping center to be a good fit.” Craver also spoke to the importance of the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and what it means for the revitalization of areas that may have fallen on hard times. “Like a downtown development authority, if the Urban Redevelopment Aut hority has a partner who wants to redevelop something, we can assist them with incentives. It wouldn’t be the city’s work, it would be the authority's work,” Craver said. “The D ow n tow n D e ve lo p m e n t Authority can borrow money and issue bonds to help pay for improvements to the specified areas.” One of the driving forces behind these revitalization efforts is to take advantage of the “opportunity zone” incentive program that the state put into place seven years ago. Under this program, the government affords tax credits to the private sector. Local governments wishing to designate an area for the “opportunity zone” incentive must show that it is within or adjacent to census blocks with a 15 percent or higher poverty rate that already have an enterprise zone or redevelopment plan. “If you locate a business in one of the specified areas, that designation would give you a $3,500 dollar job tax credit for each new job you create over two. Anyone you hire to work after two employees gives you that tax credit which comes off your corporate income tax,” Craver said. “Essentially the idea is to incentivize new, strong development into areas that are struggling.” The state’s incentive behind the program is that it would rather see new businesses that would provide them with 60 to 70 percent of tax revenue rather than vacancies that are providing none. Craver hopes the work that has been accomplished so far in the specified areas will help qualify Newnan for the program.

“We’ve done all this work and now we have to send in the application to the state, where they will look at it and give us their decision.” However, many in the development community are concerned because of the recent change of the commissioner for the Department of Community Affairs, and are now wondering if the program is going to change because it’s so popular, according to Craver. “When it was put on the books in the beginning, it was for t hose places t hat were really affected. That was the whole point. But it’s been t wea ked a nd played with. So now you see some people go out into an industrial park that has new, sharp and clean fancy buildings, but they never found a tenant but they are getting opportunities under that status.” T he popu la rit y of t he “opportunity zone” initiative is that when some companies are able to hire enough employees, they would have an excess credit, which they would then take and apply to their withholding, according to Craver. “Now you don’t have to pay the Department of Revenue the withholding tax, so that’s money in your pocket that you get to keep as a business owner. That’s why it’s become so popular within the industrial community,” Craver said. “It’s because of that, everyone has now jumped on it. Now, it’s gotten beyond the whole ‘let’s just fix up Greenville Street,’ which is what it was designed to do in the beginning.” “It really helped Kroger on Bullsboro,” Craver said. “Once that group invested, other people started to follow.” “I think as you look along that corridor from the new Nissan dealership by the interchange all the way down to 300 Bullsboro, all of that’s redevelopment,” Craver said. However, it is slowly proving to be a challenge for a development pla n ner li ke Craver. Potential businesses want to be located in close proximity to what’s referred to as “the funnel position” — high traffic areas from commuters heading north toward Atlanta in the morning and south in the afternoon. It’s a good problem to have, according to Craver. But it also makes development difficult. “K rispy K reme was one compa ny who seriously scouted us but we couldn’t get them into a location they wanted,” Craver said, referencing the “funnel position.” “They’re a morning business. Their company enjoys a rabid following that would follow them anywhere they chose to set up shop. But it’s those everyday people who are going to work that they want, and we can’t find a position for them,” Craver said. However, in Craver’s opinion, there are ways around such obstacles. One example is partnering with existing property owners to consider rebuilding sites to accommodate four or five spaces instead of their initial one or two. It’s this mindset of “working smarter” that Craver hopes to find space for potential businesses while maintaining a sense of uniformity. “ We wa nt to encourage business, but we don’t want to have sprawl everywhere either,” Craver said.

An apartment complex is under construction in Newnan behind Ashley Park in the area of Newnan Crossing Bypass.

Housing construction picking up in Coweta By Sarah Fay Campbell

Coweta County’s housing market is f inally bouncing back after being devastated by the national housing crisis. Foreclosure numbers have dropped significantly over the past year, and have been under 100 foreclosures per month since August. March’s total of 49 foreclosure advertisements was the lowest since before The Newnan Times-Herald started keeping the statistics in 2006. More newer homes are being built, as well. In 2013, Coweta County issued 285 building permits for new houses, and the city of Newnan issued 263. That’s the highest number of housing permits issued in Coweta County since 2007. But that’s nowhere near enough new homes to meet the current demand, say local Realtors. “We’d like to see a lot more,” said Susie Walker, president of the Newnan-Coweta Board of Realtors. “We are very low on inventory,” she said. Most homes that are being built are going

under contract quickly, she said. The resale market is also brisk, and while it is still a good time to buy, with fairly low prices and low interest rates, it has also become a good time to sell a home. It’s getting harder and harder for bargain hunters to find inexpensive houses. T here’s a lso a shor tage of homes in the $100,000s to “high $200,000s” range, Walker said. One reason new home construction is lagging behind demand is that it can still be difficult for builders to get financing. But, on t he ot her ha nd, changes in lending regulations for homebuyers are helping make the market more stable, and should help prevent the kinds of problems that led to the housing collapse. “You don’t have any more of those types of loans that got us in trouble,” Walker said. The housing market has “finally made its correction,” she said, and “things are getting back to where they should be.”

The significance of golf in area’s economic growth By Clay Neely

If there is one person to ask about the impact that golf courses can have on a community, it’s Joe Guerra. As president and CEO of the Coweta-based Sequoia Golf, Guerra oversees more than 50 private clubs, resorts and dailyfee facilities across the U.S. “There are so many terrific attributes about this community,” Guerra said. “Coweta possesses the benef its and amenities that a larger city might enjoy but you retain that small-town feel.” Guerra recognizes the i m p or t a n c e of a c om m u nity that can provide such a diverse range of recreational amenities. “ You h ave mu lt iple gol f courses, hunting, f ishing,” Guerra said. “These are the very things that people who fled the city life crave.” Speaking to the relationship between golf courses and the quality of life in a community, Guerra acknowledged that the connection certainly exists. “A lot of people select the

southside of Atlanta for their primar y place of residence because of the variety of high quality golf courses that are available,” Guerra Guerra said. “As a Canongate member, you have access to four amazing golf courses within only a sixmile radius in the Coweta area. That’s unprecedented. ” So, would the plethora of available golf courses in the Coweta area be an indicator of economic prosperity or opportunity? “The answer is yes,” Guerra said. “Golfers tend to be associated with an affluent lifestyle. They tend to be business owners, entrepreneurs and drivers of the economy. It’s not purely or exclusively related to that socio-economic strata but there is definitely a bias there. It goes with the territory, that entrepreneurs and business owners and those who are creating jobs invest in our community and play the game of golf.”


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Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 5D

Coweta, a place for family entertainment

Quality of Lif e

By Bradley Hartsell

music&arts Continued from page 1D

“That evening, I met a friend at Ten East, Tony Sims, who was playing upstairs. Nearby, one of my private students was playing guitar at Twilight. It’s not hard to run into some evidence of what Musicology has done.” “It has been interesting in the past month or so, there are a lot of people that came out of that teaching/student world that are out there doing it now,” added Kees. “And there’s places to play, other people to play with. Fifteen years ago, the gigs I played were private parties, but now there are public places to play.” The revitalization of Newnan’s downtown scene is not just Kees’ obser vation. Newnan artist and fellow teacher at The Heritage School, David Boyd Jr., sensed life coming back to the area several years ago, prompting him and his wife to move back from the country to a downtown neighborhood. Like Kees’ enthusiasm for music, Boyd feels the energy of the art scene in Coweta. “To me, the addition of the

Centre for Performing and Visual Arts was huge. I helped hang the first show with Francoise Gilot. As an artist in this community, it was earth-shattering,” Boyd said. “Since then, the school system has fostered an educational atmosphere and educated the community on supporting the arts.” In October, Boyd and six other local artists, including Martin Pate and Millie Gosch, participated in a pop-up gallery event called “The Society of Seven,” an event that demonstrated the community’s ability to support artists with a vision. “We’ve got really good artists here,” Boyd said. “We’re luck y to have so ma ny great and talented artists in t he cou nt y a nd especia l ly Newnan.” Boyd also cited NewnanC owe t a A r t A s s o c i a t i o n , which boasts more than 200 local artists, in helping Coweta become an art hotspot. “It’s more than just visual arts, too. There’s antiques, there’s culinary happenings. I’m blown away by the progress this town has made in this direction, and I think we still have a long way to go.”

Coweta County has two family-friendly destinations, one outdoor, one indoor, but both steeped in tradition, that are excelling in a time when one would expect a drop-off. One of those destinations is Double Bar H Stables on the outskirts of Coweta. Run by Terri Hall Hofmann, Double Bar H Stables has become a place for children and adults to enjoy the outdoors, ride horses and hang out in the country, far away from the bustle of town. Known for horse boarding and lesson programs, Double Bar has attracted enough interest that Hofmann is starting a summer camp for children in the spring and summer. She hopes to do a 4- to 6-week camp, something she says has already received a lot of interest. “It’s just such a unique setting that we have here. We’re ve r y for t u n a te a n d ve r y blessed,” Hofmann said of her ranch that borders Chattahoochee Bend State Park. “Parents will bring kids for lessons, and end up making friends and hanging out.” “People say it ’s a g reat escape. They’re stuck in the office and subdivisions,” she added. “It’s a park-like setting,

Fayetteville’s Christopher Birmingham bowls with his grandparents at Junction Lanes in Newnan.

Terri Hall Hofmann, owner of Double Bar H Stables.

it’s not just for the kids.” Hofmann says Coweta is horse country, and it’s not surprising to her that the community comes out to share her passion. She says generations of horse farmers and private landowners with horses make the roots run deep. Hofmann says it’s a luxury for locals in Newnan to have the Court Square and Ashley Park for shopping, dining and entertainment, but also have “old Newnan” to enjoy the river, the state park and horseback riding, all in one county. “You can come out here and be isolated. It’s like a different state almost,” she said. For those less inclined to the outdoors, there’s Junction Lanes Family Entertainment Center. Many bowling centers these days are half the size and

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Coweta families find the beauty of community By Bradley Hartsell

Appreciating what you have when you have it means something to Ryan Tipton. From 2008 to April 2013, Tipton and his wife, Cindy, lived in Newnan while Tipton pastored at Ecclesia, first out of their home, then in a building on East Washington Street, where they still meet today. Before that, they had lived in nearby Zebulon, where they returned to last summer. For several months, with both often spending at least four days a week in Newnan, they’ve been looking to leave Zebulon once again. “What drew us back is we

were only gone less than a year, and all of our lives are back in Newnan. So coming back is so important to us,” Tipton said. His wife grew up in Newnan, with her whole family still here today. The Tiptons’ church family is in Newnan, as well. “There’s a very communal and familial feel in Newnan. Family and our spiritual family is equally huge to us,” he said. “There’s a mentality of the area of longevity and wanting to be here. Where the people are, that’s where I need to be as a minister. As a Christian, I consider it a sacred responsibility for the church, as a whole, to have a vested interest in the health of the community.”

There’s another big reason for wanting to move back tugging at the Tipton family. In early February, they brought home their 3-year old daughter, Naomi, who they adopted from Africa. Tipton’s beloved family at Ecclesia supported them during the three-year journey from meeting with an adoption agency to parenthood. As such, Tipton wants his daughter to grow up around a place where the outpouring of love is “beyond belief.” “We want Naomi to be as connected to her family as possible, from grandparents, great grandparents, cousins to the Ecclesia family,” Tipton said of his fatherly vision. “Raising her

among them and with them is really critical.” Tipton bel ieve s wh at i s important to him, as a father ra isi ng a fa m i ly, is some thing many of Coweta County’s newly minted families are discovering. “ T he adva ntages moving back is there’s an inordinate amount of opportunity in the city,” Tipton said. “We’re socially growing, and economically, we’re continuing to build when other cities can’t.” “There’s a great parks commu n it y, w it h lots of open green spaces. What drew us to

community, page 6D

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6D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quality of Lif e community Continued from page 5D

Newnan in the first place was there was already this feel of community, with sidewalks, parks and shops,” he added. Richard Chambers moved to Newnan in 2008. He also was brought here by his wife, Marissa, who grew up in town since middle school. Chambers, whose fa mily now attends Ecclesia, is raising two little kids and feels Newnan has everything he needs to raise a family. “A lot of the older generations, they were born into a natural, tradition sense of community,” Chambers said. “The world has changed so much that you have to be intentional about having community now. A lot of places on the Square are hitting on that and providing a space for hanging out and getting to know each other.” Chambers, who grew up in LaGrange, is a history buff and is quick to point out the value of being in Newnan, oftentimes synonymous with the word “historic.” “Everywhere you go, you can tap into the roots of history, whether it’s the downtown district, the Cole Town district, the Chalk Level district down Pinson Street,” said Chambers. “There’s so many places with such history. Growing up in a small town, I missed that. It’s not just a new suburb of Atlanta. It’s got its own history, its own town, which I really appreciate.” Like Tipton, Chambers is excited about Coweta’s commitment to lush and clean parks. “The county seems to be investing in the parks, more so than when we moved here. T hey h ave severa l d i fferent parks; we definitely take advantage. “First Avenue Park has the track to ride bikes or [you can] fly kites on the field. C.J. Smith Park is shaded with some really great swings. They’re a good way to meet people. The kids

family Continued from page 5D

can always find another kid to play with. It’s nice to have those spaces.” If Tipton and Chambers are finding the comforts of a closeknit community within the last few years, Katie Brady can attest to generations of smalltown living. Brady, whose husband is Mayor Keith Brady, is a lifelong resident of Newnan. “As much as it’s grown, it’s still a small town,” Brady said. “I have wonderful memories of growing up in Newnan. It’s a fabulous place to raise a family, and it’s close to Atlanta to take advantage of those amenities. “You couldn’t drag Keith or I away. We love it.” Brady says she always lived in the type of neighborhood where you knew all of your neighbors and you cared about one another. She’s been in same church, Central Baptist, one her family has been associated with since her great-grandmother was a charter member. “I just love small towns. We just knew everything that was going on, every aspect of the community,” said Brady, who mentioned how grateful she was to have her two children and their grandchildren back in Newnan. “That’s just what you do in small towns, you’re active and involved.” Brady says Newnan is well thought of around the state, something her husband sees when he attends meetings for the state. “ T hey t h i n k New n a n i s beautiful and so much going on. They’re a little envious. It’s a little feather in our cap,” Brady said. “People are very communityminded,” said Tipton. “Other communities feel the need to preserve their anonymity. A big reason we set up a church is we would have more opportunity for ministry because people were more open here, not just going to go home and shut the garage and not be heard from.”

sca rcely f i lled. It seems more people enjoy Wii bowling than actually hitting the lanes. But at Junction Lanes, particularly on a Thursday evening, when every game is a dollar at 7 p.m., there’s something bowling alleys just don’t have anymore. A waiting list. “I try to keep it familyfr iend ly a nd f i n a ncia l ly affordable for families to come in,” said general manager Candace Ciminnisi. “A lot of [the crowd] has to do for that. For families, we are entertainment and they’ve got to put us in their budget. We’re the first things they cut when the budget tightens.” Newnan’s recent growth means a lot of new families. With energetic kids, parents working during the day and affordable prices, Ciminnisi isn’t surprised all 40 lanes are filled on Thursday nights. “There’s some things to do in the area [for families], but if you make it a fun atmosphere, they enjoy themselves when they’re here,” she said. Ci m i n n isi has tried to make Junction Lanes accessible to everyone, from men’s a nd women’s leag ues to junior leagues (4-21 years old) to senior leagues. She’s even working on a program that will accommodate those who work late shifts and can’t make normal “prime-time” bowling hours. Junior league bowling has another added benefit: scholarships. Winning bowlers are able to earn scholarship money held in a fund to help them with college. Ciminnisi’s vision of entertainment in Coweta County may not have the green pastures of Hofmann’s, but both women are interested in providing the same thing: family fun. In an area booming with families that are here thanks to the many opportunities Coweta is providing, such as the medical industry, families need outlets, according to Hofmann and Ciminnisi. Whether that’s in the saddle, on the lanes or in a park somewhere, Coweta has something to offer these families.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 7D

Million Dollar Club 2013 Newnan-Coweta Board of REALTORS®

“A Night Among Champions”

Crystal Phoenix Members

Silver Phoenix Member

[ Members who have been elected to Active Membership for 25 years.]

Thomas W. (Chip) Barron

Frank H. Barron

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Phoenix Members

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Bud Freeburg

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

[ Members who have been elected to Active Membership for 20 years.]

Thomas Leiby

Myra Jernigan

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Linda Scott

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Bob Williams

Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Southern Brokers, Inc.

Christie Hayes

Jullie Hunt

[ Members who have been elected to Active Membership for 10 years.]



Bob Barfield

Tom Barron

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Marian Hynson Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Craig Jackson

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Life Members Joy Barnes

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Barfield Realty

Cam Carden

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Lynn Kelley

Laura Crockarell

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Richard Kelley

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Vicki Dell

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Victoria Massassi Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

David Graetz

Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Verkina Parrish

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Keller Williams Realty Berkshire Hathaway Atlanta Partners Home Services GA Properties

Connie Peacock

Bobby Spradllin

Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Re/Max Results

[ Members who have been elected to Active Membership 3 consecutive years, or any 5 random years.]

Cynthia Brooks Re/Max Results

Jacqueline Campbell Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Riese Carden

Jim Chancellor

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Lindsey Marketing Group

Scott Cosby

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Jeannie Doole

Elena Dickerson

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

THANK YOU to our


Randa Herring

Josey, Young & Brady Realty

Angie Hogsed Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Carol Holden Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Bill Howard

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Kelley Kesterson Re/Max Results

Steve Kubon

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Terri Martinez NuWay Realty


Sally McEntire

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Jim Qualls

Kristina Stephens

Coldwell Banker Bullard Realty

Active Members

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Danny Thompson

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Luke Thompson

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Vincent Troung

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Sandi Vollrath

Lindsey Marketing Group

[ Members who have been elected for the year immediately following his/her qualifying year.]

Keith Ross Agency


Tonia Barnfield

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Jess Barron

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Leslie Binion

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Dawn Cochran NuWay Realty

Janice C. Crisp

Lindsey Marketing Group

Amy Fuster

Robert Hinely

Berkshire Hathaway Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors Home Services GA Properties

Donna Broderick

WATER SOURCE Plumbing Service, Inc.


Julie Storms Leonard

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Jodie Shepard

Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Sheila Jenkins Lindsey’s Inc., Realtors

Alexis Shepherd

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Cindy Manning NuWay Realty

Jo Shepherd

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Noelle Masonheimer Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Tim Stout

Re/Max Results

Linda Oesterle

Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

DeeDee Tucker

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Pamela Prange

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Susie Walker

Better Homes & Garden Metrobrokers

Jacqui Robertson

Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Elizabeth Williams Berkshire Hathaway Home Services GA Properties

Special Thanks to the

MILLION DOLLAR CLUB COMMITTEE Riese Carden – Chair Donna Broderick Cam Carden Jim Chancellor Janice Crisp Shelley Harsin Connie Clifton-Peacock

8D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

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West Georgia Technical College brings new campus By Celia Shortt

at the ribbon cutting for the stand-alone campus. WGTC has four major program areas — trade and technical programs, allied health professions, arts and science and business and public service. The new campus is the only campus to offer the physical therapist assistant program. Classes are available in business administration, criminal justice, early childhood development learning and instruction, and computer technology. Participants gather at the West Georgia Technical College ribbon Core classes are also available. cutting ceremony.

funding Continued from page 1D

years school system employees working more than 180 days have had those days reduced by three. A typical school year for teachers is 190 days. Teachers are now being paid for only 187 days. “Right now, we are exploring options that can help employees, in some manner, with those missing dollars,” said Barker. The school system has operated below budget for the 20132014 school year and will take $2.5 million from its reserves. Ba rker credits t hat to t he school district closely monitoring all expenditures and the new Title Ad Valorem Tax for automobile sales. Another element helping the budget is a 1 percent increase in property values in 2013. Barker said students and parents will begin to see a STEM emphasis at all levels of education in 2014. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and focuses on invention and critical thinking in education, rather than simply reading and answering questions. It places emphasis on realworld applications for science

and math and more hands-on experience. S T E M ef for t s i n Cowe ta’s elementary schools range from classroom projects to ta ke-home activities. Middle and high schools take a more concrete emphasis in the classroom. Barker hopes these efforts will pique students’ interest at an early age, especially those students who may not have been interested in them otherwise. Dual enrollment options will also be a focus in 2014. Dual enrollment allows high school students to participate in college classes while still in high school. Students and parents may then save money by completing a substantial amount core curriculum for college. Coweta students currently have dual enrollment options at West Georgia Technical College and the University of West Georgia. With the completion in 2013 of WGTC’s new Coweta campus on Turkey Creek Road, and the new UWG Newnan Center campus coming to the former hospital property on Jackson Street in January 2015, students will have even more options than before. “It’s a true partnership,” said Barker.

Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 9D

West Georgia Technical College’s new Coweta Campus is giving students higher education options closer to home. T he new ca mpus, wh ich opened in 201 3, off Turkey Creek Road near GA Hwy 16 E and Int. 85 South, represents a $20 million investment in higher education in Coweta. “We are here today because we represent the face of the future,” said State Representative Lynn Smith, R-Newnan,

2014 brings notable projects for Coweta schools By Celia Shortt

Bot h Ea st Coweta H ig h School a nd Eva ns M idd le School in the Coweta County School System are undergoing substantial improvements in 2014 to allow for better conditions for students. East Coweta Hig h on Highway 154, Sharpsburg, is undergoing two major projects in 2014. One involves t he school’s at h letic f ield house, along with additions to faculty-designated spaces including locker rooms, training areas, offices, and parking lot repaving. The second involves the renovation of existing class-

rooms in Senoia Hall along with a large campus addition estimated to encompass up to 15 classrooms. Both these projects are complete. Some work on the band room in Senoia Hall remains and will be completed during spring break. During spring break, work on ECHS’s 12-classroom addition behind the cafeteria (in the old g ymnasium space) will begin. Work on expanding and renovating the main k itchen a nd cafeteria will begin after spring break and continue through the summer of 2014. At Evans Middle School, work centers on removing the two core buildings at the Hos-

pital Road campus that were built in the 1970s and are original to the school, said Dean Jackson, Coweta schools public information officer. T hey conta in origina l classrooms, the cafeteria, and a media center. The plan is to tear down those buildings and build new “core buildings.” The cafeteria will be the last item to be replaced, and the project’s expected completion is the summer of 2015. Modular classrooms will be moved onto the property to ensure the students’ classes and school year will not be interrupted. Jackson said site prep work bega n at the ca mpus dur-

ing Christmas break, and the demolition of the core buildings and construction of the new ones is set to begin this summer. At its March meeting, the Coweta County Board of Education approved a contract to purchase approximately 53 acres on Shaw Road for $872,500. This property will position the school system to expand school facilities, if needed. Madras Middle School and Lee Middle School are two schools above capacity, but they are looking to remain steady in the short-term enrollment projections.

Coweta promotes economic prosperity through educational opportunities By Clay Neely

“Consultants have told us for the longest time that incentives were the key to getting companies to locate or expand to our region,” said Greg Wright, president of the Coweta County Development Authority. “But we feel that, in the future, the actual workforce will be more important than incentives.” Wright feels that one of the major questions that any potential company asks in regards to any prospective community is, “Can we get the quality and quantity of the workforce we need?”

With ma nufacturing a nd health care being among the top growing industries of Coweta, Wright feels that the bedrock has been laid for both categories to tap into the local talent pool thanks the to local educational resources. With the recent announcement of Niagara Bottling to establish a new facility in Cowet a , Wr ig ht cited t he direct relationship between the county and the Coweta School System’s Central Educational Center as a primary factor behind its decision. “ T he Cent ra l E duc at ion Center, WGTC, UWG, Brew-

ton Parker and Mercer are all going to help raise the level of our workforce and make us even more competitive in the future,” Wright said. Last year, Coweta County industries and educators came together as part of National Manufacturing Day, to explore ways to promote manufacturing in the classroom and how the two groups can work together in the future. With the manufacturing sector shifting into a more “specialized” field, the need for h i g h ly s k i l le d e m ploye e s has been topping the wishlists of local manufacturing

companies. Wright feels the addition of the new University of West Georgia Newnan center campus — now under construction on Jackson Street — will only further the ability for the community to train highly specialized students. The impact of the University of West Georgia campus in Newnan “will certainly be seen in health care,” Wright said. It will be a big benefit for us for them to be able to serve more students in the health care field. As we continue to attract more and more health care facilities to the area, the demand will

continue for health care jobs and we’re going to make sure we’re doing all we can to make sure we have that workforce in place,” Wright said. With the addition of the HealthSouth facility and the proposed Newnan Behavioral Hospital, Wright feels Coweta will continue to solidify its reputation as a health care destination. Ackerman Medical recently revealed its plans to develop a new medical office campus in Newnan — known as the Newnan Centre for Health — nea r t he Ca ncer Treatment Centers of America at

Southeastern Regional Medical Center facility off Newnan Crossing Bypass and nearby Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Hospital Road. According to a press release, in a joint venture with BatsonCook Development Company, Ackerman Medical has secured a 25-acre site off Lower Fayetteville Road where it plans to develop 250,000 square feet in medical office buildings. “As the need for employment in the field of health care continues, Coweta County is in a great position to provide all the staffing resources that will be needed,” Wright said.

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Coweta Cities Good Morning from the Porch! The foundation for the new Newnan Public Safety Complex was nearing completion in mid-March at the site on Jefferson Street just north of the downtown business district.

Newnan builds new home for public safety complex By Celia Shortt

Enhancing the service level of New na n’s public sa fet y department is a priority in 2014, through construction of the city’s new public safety complex. The complex is currently being built on the site of the former Hannah Homes public housing on Jefferson Street just north of the downtown business district. Newnan Police Department will be relocating from several buildings including its current headquarters in the old Municipal Building that also houses Wadsworth Auditorium. “I’m glad that we were able to locate as close to the downtown area as we can without demolishing any buildings,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady. “It’s going to enhance that side of town.” An important element of the new building is it will consoli-

date the police department into one facility. They are currently operating in several different buildings throughout Newnan. The project is funded through the one-cent countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. “[It ’s] g iv i ng ou r pol ice off icers a building they’ve deserved for many years,” said Brady. “It’s been a long time coming. We’re glad we’ve been able to do that and appreciate the support of the citizens that voted for SPLOST to make that happen.” The plans for the new facility include state-of-the-art designs that will provide better internal controls with evidence processes and better investigative rooms. Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips said the biggest enhancement brought to the city by the new public safety complex will be the courtroom. It will have attorney rooms, rooms for people to meet with

probation officers, and a better security system, including a built-in security system for the judge. In October 201 3, the city broke ground on the almost $9 million facility. “ T h is is a g reat day for Ne w n a n a n d o bv i o u s ly a great day for our public safety departments,” said Brady at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This new complex is much needed and well-deserved.” “Forty years ago I would have never thought we would be here because 40 years ago we had just moved into our new building downtown, and it was state of the art then,” added Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows at the ceremony. It was originally projected to be completed in November 2014, but severe winter weather in January and February has delayed the project a bit. No new expected completion date has been given.

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10D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

Coweta Cities

This drawing shows the planned interior at the UWG Newnan campus when finished at the old Newnan Hospital site on Jackson Street.

UWG transforms hospital property By Celia Shortt

Newnan is a city which work s to prov ide a h ig h quality of life for those who live in it, and 2014 will be no different as the city continues to strive to create community and build atmosphere for its citizens, say local leaders. “I think it will be a very positive year,” said Newnan Mayor Keith Brady of 2014. “We continue to recover, and that recovery is centered a round t he grow t h we’re seeing.” T hat g row t h i ncludes several key city projects, the most far-reaching of which is the new University of West Georgia Newnan satellite campus at the site of the old Newnan Hospital on Jackson Street. Students in Newnan will now have the opportunity once they have graduated from high school to stay in Newnan to get a four-year higher education. “And that is huge,” Brady said. The $15 million hospital

redevelopment project will prov ide fou r-yea r h ig her education degrees in Newnan a nd ex pa nd Ne w n a n’s c u r re nt U WG c a m pu s facilities, currently located in Shenandoah Industrial Park. This school year, UWG had a record enrollment of almost 12,000 students. The new UWG Newnan campus will continue to offer core c u r r ic u lu m cla sses , allowing high school students who attend high school in Coweta to have another place close to home to be dua l enrolled. All the classes currently available at the UWG Newnan campus in the Shenandoah Industrial Park will be offered at the new campus. But the increased space and newer fac i l it ie s w i l l a l low t he university to expand course offerings, including new labs and facilities for the nursing school. Ot her possible f ut u re programs at the new Newnan campus include:

UWG, page 11D

Newnan to extend McIntosh Parkway through downtown By Celia Shortt

Newnan has two transportation projects planned for 2014 that will improve transportation for its citizens: extending McIntosh Parkway to downtown and building a roundabout on Lower Fayetteville Road that will include a primary entrance for the Newnan Centre meeting facility. The McIntosh Parkway project has been in the works since before New na n City Ma nager Cleatus Phillips came to Newnan in 2000. The east-west parkway would be parallel to and south of Bullsboro Drive. “We’ve always envisioned the connectivity from downtown Newnan up to Ashley Park or the retail area around Interstate 85,” he said. Phillips said city leaders are trying to get the two areas to complement or feed off each other. “We see too many communities where the new retail centers kind of dried up their downtown a reas,” he said. “That hasn’t been the case here, and we think there are opportunities to thrive off each other.” It’s a “big part of building com munity,” sa id New na n Mayor Keit h Brady of t he transportation project. Only portions of the parkway are completed, as Newnan has never had a dedicated funding source for the project. The beginning of the road is already in place in Ashley Park, running off Newnan Crossing Bypass near Atlanta Fitness. Once completed, it will extend from there to Farmer Street. Brady foresees having a trolley to take people from one shopping area to the other. Phillips said the city has put in a grant request to the state toll authority that would allow the city to complete the project. City officials are currently waiting to hear if they’ve received the grant. If the city does not receive the grant, Phillips’ plan is to ask for authorization to extend the road from its current deadend point in Ashley Park westward to Greison Trail. “We have the funds on hand to finish that section,” he said.


The other big transportation project, a traffic roundabout to provide a second entrance to the Newnan Centre/ Centre for Performing and Visual Arts complex, is another project that will enhance Newnan’s service level for its citizens. “While the construction of the new roundabout on Lower Fayetteville Road is called the second entrance, it will in fact become our main entrance,” said Carol Moore, executive director of the Newnan Centre, the city’s meeting facility that opened in 2013. “T his new entrance will assist with ingress and egress for patrons of the Newnan Centre and performing and visual arts center and alleviate some of the traffic from the current entranceway,” she said. “The new entrance will give us a presence on Lower Fayetteville Road with signage that will be aesthetically pleasing.” Ot her ex pa n sion pla n s for the Newnan Centre area include a hotel for use by people attending events there as well as the public in general. “The hotel piece gives people the comfort level to have some events there that would bring in out-of-town (guests), wedding events and those kinds of things … they won’t have to stay off-site,” said Brady. In marketing the Newnan Centre to meeting planners for conferences, high on their list of priorities is having a hotel attached to the meeting space, said Moore. “Meeting planners are looking for a ‘one stop shop’ approach whereby their attendees never have to get in their car until it’s time to go home.” “Not having a hotel attached is a drawback for us when we are competing against other cities that do have a hotel at tached to t hei r meet i ng space,” she added. “An attached hotel will greatly impact our ability to secure conferences for the Newnan Centre that will in turn generate economic impact for the city.” Brady also thinks that having a hotel at the complex will help hospitals and medical facilities already located here or that are building or expanding in Newnan. “I think as the hospitals con-

Newnan installed this roundabout several years ago at the

intersection of Greison Trail, East Broad, East Newnan Road and Lower Fayetteville Road. Roundabouts are planned on Lower Fayettville at the Newnan Centre and at Five Points.

The Newnan Centre meeting facility opened in mid-June 2013 adjacent to the Coweta School System’s Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. A roundabout is planned on Lower Fayetteville Road to provide a traffic entrance.

“We are at the point where we’re beginning to do the rightof-way acquisition,” said Newnan’s city manager of the project. “City and county officials discussed and felt it would be better that one entity was overseeing the acquisition, so we would have the same appraisers, same engineers, everyone on board,” Phillips said. Phillips believes, with the city staff ’s experience, they would take on the responsibility of overseeing the right-ofway acquisition process. “Obviously, they (the county) pay for their portion that’s in the city, and we pay for our portion that’s in the county,” Phillips added. “I’m comfortable with what the agreement’s drafted.” Phillips hopes that a const r uction cont ract for t he project can be awarded this summer.

Grantville Water system is Grantville priority By W. Winston Skinner

AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” the most watched drama in cable history, is set in the fictional town of Woodbury. Movies put Senoia on the map, but “The Walking Dead” made the town come alive.

Senoia booming thanks to film and TV By Sarah Fay Campbell

The small eastern Coweta city of Senoia is now booming, thanks to the influence of the film and television industry. The f ifth season of AMC cable network’s “The Walking Dead” is set to begin filming this summer. Country music star Zac Brown just opened his second restaurant on Main Street —La Mesa Del Sur — located next to Brown’s Southern Ground Social Club. Senoia is a golf cart city, with several paths carved throughout town. Carts are allowed on all city roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less. Currently, all the city’s subdivisions are connected with paths or streets that allow golf carts, except for the Stonebridge development on Hwy. 85. The city is working to create a path here in addition to a short trail connecting the Cumberland subdivision to the Cumberland Village shopping center. Senoia has even studied the possibility of a future path connecting Senoia and Peachtree City, where the cart trails are iconic. “With a trail that long, there would need to be charging stations for electric golf carts,” s a id S e n oi a M ayor L a r r y Owens. “It’s not just a matter of

tinue to grow here, the need for hotel rooms continues to increase,” he said. The city is also working on a new traffic roundabout at the Five Points Intersection on the city’s east side. Newnan City Council Feb. 25 approved an amendment to an intergovernmental agreement, allowing the Five Points intersection project to move forward. Five Points consists of the intersection of Poplar Road, Turkey Creek Road, East Newnan Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The Five Points roundabout is a joint project between the city of Newnan and Coweta County. Project engineers note that the roundabout will assist wit h growing tra ff ic from Turkey Creek Road, the location of the new Coweta campus of West Georgia Technical College.

Senoia Mayor Larry Owens

building a trail.” Owens, who took office in January, has several plans for increasing public participation in Senoia’s government. The Senoia City Council recently implemented a new public comment policy, proposed by Owens. Under the new policy, Senioans would be able to speak about issues on the agenda before the council votes on them. Speakers would fill out a form in advance and wou ld become pa r t of t he agenda. Owens also wants to see more information made available on the city’s website, www. He would like to see agendas for city coun-

cil meetings posted, as well as important messages from the city. Hopes are that the new public comment policy and the increased information on the city’s website will draw more people into getting involved, according to Owens. Various city boards and committees were recently asked to “come up with what they perceive as a vision for Senoia,” Owens said. “Not just 20 years down the road, but we’re looking for something right now." The city will also be “taking a hard look at our ordinances” to determine which ones need to be changed — or eliminated. “We’re just going to basically take a look at our whole ordinance package and see what it is that we need to do to better prepare for the future. Because we’re at a really good point right now and we want to seize the moment,” Owens said. A major operational change last year was to grant the city’s Historical Preservation Commission the power or grant or deny “certificates of appropriateness” for work on properties in the historic district. Previously, the HPC only made recommendations, and the council made the final decision. Those who are denied by the HPC can

senoia, page 11D

Upgrading water lines is the top priority during the coming year for Grantville Mayor Jim Sells. Repairs and improvements to the water system comprise a project that “has to be taken care of,” Sells said. “We’re losing 30 percent of the water we purchase. That has to be done.” Grantville sells its citizens water, electricity and natural gas. All the water is purchased. E x pected losses i n a water system are in the 10-12 percent range. “We’re losing three times what we should,” Sells said. Sells would also like to see the town get a gymnasium and hire a recreation director. Hiring a recreation director has been discussed by the council, and Sells visited the Coweta County Com mission in early March to ask them about possible help with the gym project. “We’re going to have to have some help from the county,” Sells said. “ You c a n’t h ave ye a rround recreation without a gymnasium.” Sells said the Glanton Complex, which currently houses town offices and other city facilities, needs to be replaced. “ We’re going to be forced to build a new city hall,” he said. “It was never designed to be a municipal building. It was built to be a school,” S el l s a id . He s a id t he municipal court has outgrown its space. “The cost of upgrade is just too much,” Sells said. Sells said he does not see the new city hall becoming a reality during 2014 — but rather as something that is two or three years away. “The council has to start working on that this year,” he said. Sel l s i s a l so excited about economic growth that is coming to the south Coweta town. A pharmacy is locating downtown, and

Sells sees it as an anchor that will bring people to town — and keep people in town. There has been talk for years about the need for a bank, grocery store and pharmacy in Grantville. Sells said that — because of new bank regulations — a bank branch i n Gra ntvi lle i n t he nea r

future is unlikely. The drug store is coming. Sell said people “are not going to drive to another city to get prescription drugs for the same price.” Since the pharmacy is a family business,

grantville, page 11D

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Coweta Cities senoia Continued from page 10D

still appeal to the council. T h e c i t y ’s t w o b i g g e s t upcoming projects a re the reconfiguration of the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 16 and Pylant Street and the new recreation facility. The Pylant Street project will move the intersection eastward so that Pylant will come into Hwy. 16 at a right angle. A portion of the old road bed will become a parking lot for those visiting the Marimac Lakes park. And the property around the intersection project will be landscaped and include signage. The city received Georgia Department of Transportation safety funding for the intersection project. Engineering and right-of-way acquisition, if any, is expected to be finished in 2015, with construction in 2016. “I want to make sure it is fast tracked” as much as possible,

Owens said of the project. The intersection “is such a safety hazard.” In spring 2013, the city purchased a 62-acre tract along Hw y. 16 for future athletic fields. The development of the fields will be a joint project of Senoia and Coweta County. A groundbreaking for the project will likely be held later this year, with the first phase opening in fall of 2015, said Coweta County Administrator Michael Fouts. The first phase will be baseball and softball fields, and additional amenities such as tennis courts and a gym might be built in later phases. The new athletic fields will be named Leroy Johnson Park. The current athletic facility is also named Leroy Johnson Park. Once the new park opens, land at the existing park will become available for industrial development. The city has developed a great relationship with Coweta County over the past few years, Owens said, and that relationship “has been a real benefit.”

“Downtown, the spark is already lit. We anticipate that growing,”

said Grantville Mayor Jim Sells.

grantville Continued from page 10D

“you’re going to know your pharmacist,” he said. “Dow ntow n the spa rk is already lit. We anticipate that growing,” Sells said. Sells said there also is a developer talking with property owners about a possible

project at the interstate. “We’re pushing as hard as we can for something in the industrial park,” the mayor said, although he predicted there will be a development near I-85 first. One other bright ray of economic hope is the filming of the Vince Vaughn film, “Term Life.” Movie crews are set to arrive in early April. “We’re hoping to get more movies shooting here, too,” Sells said.

Small Towns

Coweta’s smaller towns provide quiet hometown living, traditions By W. Winston Skinner

Coweta County’s smaller towns provide pleasant places to live, centers of community and houses of worship. They also offer shopping for necessities — and, in some cases, some unique products. Palmetto is mostly in Fulton County but straddles the Coweta line. Clark Boddie, who was the town’s police chief from 19771985, has been mayor since 1986. Members of the city council are Laura Mullis, Larry Parrott, Lucinda Rockemore, Gregory Rusch, Leon Sumlin and Patty O'Hara Willey. Palmetto has long been a

UWG Continued from page 10D

•Undergraduate degree in business or healthcare management. •Undergraduate degree in criminology, sociology, p s yc h o l o g y, b i o l o g y o r chemistry. •Undergraduate degree in exercise and health science. •MPA with an emphasis in healthcare administration. •Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Professional Community Counseling. • Continuing Education programs in other health care support areas and Microsoft certification. “I want people to realize it’s much more than just the nursing school” that will be at the new UWG campus, said Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips. The new facility will also affect Newnan economically. UWG’s Center for Business a nd E conom ic Re sea rch esti mated t he project to bring in approximately $21 million to the city during the construction phase, as well as creating 176 jobs. Once completed, they estimate the campus to generate between $1.4 million and $3.4 million in the community each year. “ O nce it b e come s t he feeling of a campus is when we think it will blossom and


center of commercial activity in south Fulton and a conduit for traffic headed to and from Atlanta. The town’s historic train depot occupies a prominent spot in downtown and has been restored for use as an event facility and museum by the city. There also are two parks — Wayside Park on Main Street and Veterans Park on Park Street. At the southeastern corner end of the county, Haralson is mostly in Coweta County but spills over into Meriwether. Ted Bateman has been mayor for several years. Council members are Scott Beaumont, Bonita Rosema n a nd Fred Rudbeck.

when you’ll see the number rea lly sta r t to g row,” sa id Phillips. “It will have a tremendous economic development in that top of the downtown area, the northernmost part of our commercial district,” said Brady. U WG President Dr. Kyle Marrero plans to increase the current number of students at the Newnan campus from 500 to 1,200 non-duplicated students by the time classes start at the new campus in January 2015. Marrero, who assumed the presidency last July, is the seventh president of UWG. By 2018, his goal is have the Newnan campus at capacity with 3,000 students attending. T he Newna n Hospita l Redevelopment Project is a partnership between the city of Newnan, the remaining board of the former Newnan Hospital, Coweta County, UWG, and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. The Newnan Hospital Board has donated all the land and provided about $4.2 million toward the project. Coweta County will give slightly more than $500,000 over a 10-year period. Once the project is completed, the Board of Regents will buy the complex for $5

Haralson also has a park with picnic space and walki n g t r a i l s . T he nor m a l ly sleepy south Coweta burg is enlivened twice a year when parades and other activities are held. During the week of July 4 — but generally a day other than Independence Day itself — Haralson has a parade with genuine small town flavor followed by a stellar fireworks display. T here a l s o i s a H a r a lson Christmas parade each December — usually followed by a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Santa Claus is often a parade participant and an attendee at the subsequent activities.

million. Through the city’s Downtown D e v e l o p m e n t A u t h o r i t y, New n a n i s bor row i n g $ 1 1 million from United Bank to complete the project. Only $6 million is considered long-term debt since the Board of Regents is buying the campus once it is completed. “That’s going to be paid off sooner rather than later,” said Brady. “It’s not just an amortized schedule we’re going to stick to. There’s going to be fundraising projects going on to help with that.” Newnan City Councilmember Bob Coggin serves as chair of the Funding Committee. This year the committee started a broad fundraising campaign, focusing on people who have had a close relationship with the old hospital. Through it, supporters will have the opportunity to to dedicate classrooms and other areas of the campus. “We began the fundraising earlier this year with personal one-on-one contact w it h individuals with close ties to Newnan’s historic hospital,” said Coggin. “These efforts are meeting our expectations.” The fundraising committee also has goals for 2014. “We have set a minimum goal

In sout heastern Coweta County, the towns of Sharpsburg and Turin abut. Each town has a community center — Turin’s is located in a historic former African-American school. Turin also has its own water system, which serves both towns, and the U.S. Post Office in Sharpsburg serves a wide swath of eastern Coweta. Wendell Staley is the mayor of Sha rpsburg. Clay Cole, Celene Davenport, Derrick McElwaney and Keith Rhodes serve on the council. Turin’s mayor is Alan Starr. Serving on the council are Tony Crunkleton, George Harris, Cindy Purcell and Susan Reimer.

of $1.5 million which we have determined are the funds we will need to enhance several aspects of the facility and provide scholarships,” Coggin said. “We are currently planning our first larger event, which will take place in a few weeks. This event will take place at the site so that we can provide tours of the facility and share the naming opportunities and other activities to a number of interested individuals.” Coggin said they are working on more opportunities over the next two to three months. The new UWG campus is high priority for Marrero. So much so, Coggin said Marrero has hired a full-time person to handle the fundraising. With all that is going on, Brady isn’t worried. He is confident the city and its staff will do an excellent job in 2014. “O u r sta ff w i l l face t he challenges,” he said. “We have a great team in place. I think it’s going to be a great year.” Marrero, in a presentation about UWG’s future to Newnan Rotary Club in January, noted U WG’s adva ncement to a comprehensive university and its rise within the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

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Dick Ford, Moreland’s new mayor, says restoration of the Moreland Mill (pictured above) is his top priority during the coming year.

Mill building renovation top priority for Moreland mayor By W. Winston Skinner

Dick Ford, Moreland’s new mayor, says restoration of the Moreland Mill is his top priority during the coming year. Work is under way at the century-old mill complex. The brick edifice anchors a downtown corner and provided work for area residents for decades. Now it houses the town hall, a public meeting room and a two-story section that is being restored for use as a local history museum. “I want to continue working on that — making improvements there,” said Ford, who took off ice in January after serving for several years on the council. It m ay be 201 5 before work beg i ns on a pla n ned streetscapes project around the town square, but the town will have to continue work-

ing this year to get that project moving. The improvements are being funded with a Transportation Enhancement Grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation. Ford’s third priority is to continue working with the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance on projects including the God’s Little Acre garden area. Plans include “the moving in of buildings” to create a cluster of historic structures around the garden, which is designed to show visitors and residents the area’s agricultural heritage. Ford also wants a new plan for the cemetery’s expansion. The mayor plans to appoint some committees and wants “to have activities at the mill and the garden for the citizens of our area,” Ford said. “I’d like to see the citizens more involved.” Ford started the year with an event that brought the commu-

nity together. Chillabration was held for the first time — benefitting Team Georgia/Transplant Games of America and MCAA on Jan. 18. The event include music and a New Year’s good luck menu of pork and greens. “Chillabration was a great event. For the first time we ever had it, we had a great turnout — almost 200 people,” Ford said. The event was planned when “people were getting a little cabin fever,” Ford said. “It was very successful.” Ford hopes Chillabration will be held annually, and he predicted it will grow. Ford said he also hopes to work with Grantville Mayor Jim Sells to find some ways the two south Coweta towns can work together. Ford said he believes there are “things we can do together that we can’t do alone.” Alabama: Auburn ● Opelika ● Valley Florida: Milton ● Pace ● Pensacola Georgia: Carrollton ● LaGrange ● West Point

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12D — The Newnan Times-Herald   |  Sunday, March 23, 2014


Newnan police, fire to upgrade technology By Wes Mayer

For Newnan public safety — both police and f ire — 2014 will be a year to upgrade technology.

Newnan police consider dash-mounted cameras

Max and his partner, Sgt. Brian Hutchins, at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s office to purchase body-mounted cameras By Wes Mayer

ics. In April, the sheriff’s office will be hosting its 21st annual T h i s y e a r, t h e C o we t a Ma ntracker training event Cou nt y Sheri ff ’s Off ice is at the Coweta County Fairc o n s i d e r i n g p u r c h a s i n g grounds. Last year, about 600 some more-technologically- law enforcement officers from advanced equipment — body- across Georgia attended the three-day event. mounted cameras. “It’s been a widely popular These cameras are a step up from the dash-mounted cam- program,” Yeager said. “Better eras in deputies’ patrol cars, trained officers leads to a safer and deputies will actually have community.” The sheriff’s office cameras on their bodheld 1 3 basic f ireies, recording exactly arm safety classes what they see. in 201 3, averaging According to about 25 participants Coweta County per class, and 17 selfSher i ff M i ke Yeadefense classes for g e r, a f e w a g e n women, Yeager said. cies in Georgia have In 2013, the Coweta adopted these camC o u n t y S h e r i f f ’s eras, including the O f f ic e h a d a fe w University of Georgia major changes. One Police Department. of the largest was its T h e c a m er a s c a n completed transition be worn on officers’ to the new Motorshou lders , a rou nd ola mobile 700 MHz their ears or even Yeager radios installed in all mounted on glasses, emergency vehicles, which can be either clear lens Yeager said. The new radios or prescription. were funded through drugFrom what Yeager has seen seized assets and replaced the of the cameras, he says they walkie-talkie units that were record a more accurate story not adequate in many areas of of what an officer sees, espethe county. cially during traff ic stops. “It improved our communiDash-mounted cameras mostly cation, the safety of our offirecord audio. But with the cers and of the public,” Yeager body-mounted cameras, what said. is actually inside the vehicle, T he sheriff ’s off ice a lso how a person acts, their man- experienced a major, but swift, nerisms, etc., are recorded. shift in division leadership durYeager said he and others ing 2013. In August, Lt. Col. Bob will be attending a conference Yeager, director of the Court to learn more about the cam- Ser vices Division, decided eras soon. The cameras will to retire after working in the be purchased through TASER sheriff’s office since 1985. To International using drug-seized fill Bob Yeager’s shoes, former assets. Jail Division director Lt. Col. “We are going to be one of Lenn Wood moved to become those first leaders in Georgia director of Court Services; Lt. to try it,” Yeager said. “We are Col. Kelvin Thompson, former always looking for new innova- director of the Support Services tive technology that will help Division, took Wood’s position us and the citizens as well. We as director of the Jail Division; can’t sit back on our heels, we and Major Tony Grant, who have to change, too.” worked in the Criminal InvesIn the last year, the vari- tigations Division, became the ous Coweta and local munici- director of the Professional pal public safety departments Standards and Administrative made a number of significant Services Division. changes that led to improve“All of these moves were ments. Some departments were kind of seamless,” Yeager said. honored with distinguished “Everyone moved very fluidly awards and some integrated with no down time.” new equipment and technolIn 2013, two new K-9 units ogy into their agencies. In all were also hired to the departcases, the departments’ leaders ment, Yeager said — Justice, are confident the positive trend who has the nose to sniff for will continue in 2014. electronic devices in the jails or “I am just as excited today prisons, and Ruger, a dog speas I was when I first got into cialized in detecting narcotics. law enforcement,” said Yea- Justice’s handler is Sgt. Mark ger, who celebrated his 35th Storey and Ruger’s is Deputy year in law enforcement this Troy Foles. In January, a longmonth. “There is always some- time sheriff’s office K-9 officer, thing different, and we can’t be Max, retired. Max had worked complacent. We are a sheriff’s with Sgt. Brian Hutchins. office that is going to continue Overall, Yeager said Coweta to move forward.” Cou nt y conti nues to have Plans are also in motion for one of the lowest crime rates the possible addition of a video- in Metro Atlanta. Yeager said visitation center at the Coweta there will always be criminal County Jail. Yeager said many activity, it just depends on how departments are adding these the law enforcement agencies centers so inmates can be vis- react. ited over broadcast rather than In the last year, although face to face. The sheriff’s office drugs are always a major issue, also has plans to add more beds Yeager said the sheriff’s office to the jail and increase its size has been seeing many entering — along with a few other proj- autos in the county. “A lot of what we are seeects down the road. Yeager said this year the ing are crimes of opportunity,” sheriff’s office will also con- Yeager said. “We’re trying to tinue to focus on training. In instill the idea that if some2013, deputies spent a total thing doesn’t look right you time of 229 days — almost need to report it. We want to 5,500 hours — training with continue to keep an open line surrounding agencies on more of communication with our than 50 law enforcement top- citizens.”

The Newnan Police Department is looking to install new dash-mounted cameras in their vehicles and replace some radar systems used by officers, said Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows. The department is also consideri ng purchasi ng some n ig ht v ision tech nolog y through Navy Surface Warfare — all funded through the city budget and asset seizures. Meadows is also hoping to obtain three tag reader systems for patrol vehicles. In 2013, the department tested two systems for 30 days each, and during that time, the tag readers identif ied 23 drivers with suspended licenses, nine with expired insurance, 45 vehicles with expired tags, one person with an outstanding warrant and one stolen vehicle. “They are very beneficial for getting people without insurance off the roads,” Meadows said. A not her big ch a nge for the city police department in 2014 is the addition of a training officer position, Meadows said. The position will promote someone from within the department to lieutenant who will be responsible for officers’ advanced training and annual training hour requirements. The testing for the position was to begin in March, Meadows said. T h i s yea r, t he New n a n department hopes to focus more on drugs and burglaries, Meadows said. Shifts will be tailored to have patrol officers on duty during the night and early morning when most burglaries occur. Investigators with the police department’s drug unit will also continue to work in the evening during the times more drug or gunshot complaints are reported. One of the largest goals the police department has is becoming state certified through the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, Meadows said. The certification shows the Newnan Police Department is up to date on the standard police practices

Douglas “Buster” Meadows

— the Senoia Police Department became state certified in 2013. Meadows said Newnan’s department would be undergoing a mock assessment for the certif ication in March, and after that, the department should be ready for the real test. Of course, one of the more exciting events of 2014 for the Newnan Police Department is the construction of the new Public Safety Complex on Jef fer son St re et , located just outside of downtown Newnan. The new complex is great, Meadows said, because it will get every part of the department back under one roof. At the moment, the 1930s-era Municipal Building is not large enough to hold the entire department and some divisions are based in other buildings. D ue to t he ic y weat her Newnan experienced over the past few months, the construction has been delayed two or three weeks, Meadows said. The projected completion date was November 2014, but it is most likely not going to meet that date — the complex’s foundation will hopefully be completed by the end of March.

NFD using online training, going paperless The Newnan Fire Department is also looking for some changes, new technology and new equipment in 2014. Recently, the department began using an online training program through Kaplan Inc. for its firefighters, said New na n Fire Chief David

Fire Marshal Tim Cox

W hitley. The Kaplan program has f iref ighting and emergency medical technician courses to help firefighters meet their annual required training, but the program can also be used to communicate with all personnel about any changes in the department. The department is also planning on going paperless, Whitley said, and firefighters now have access to four or five iPads. The iPads save personnel many administrative hours by simplifying records and data — captains can bring the iPads to fire scenes and write up the report. They can also be used by firefighters to take the Kaplan courses while waiting on call. “We are upgrading a lot of our software so it will be ISO complia nt,” W h itley sa id. “That is why we are geared tech-heavy this year.” Newnan Fire Department was rewarded with an ISO rating of 3 in 2013. The ISO — Insurance Service Office — rating is based on a department’s size, equipment, safety systems and more. A rating of 1 is the highest, but by becoming a 3, the Newnan Fire Department became one of the top 56 fire departments in Georgia, and top 2,000 in the United States. The fire department is also sending out bids now on the purchase of two new vehicles — to see which company will give the department the best prices, Whitley said. One is a new “pumper” capable of delivering 1,250 gallons of water a minute, and the other is a light rescue truck, which will have better gas mileage and be more suited to quick

rescue responses. Another new piece of equipment for the department is a rehabilitation camper which can be transported anywhere in the county and provide a place for public safety personnel to recover. The camper is pulled by a converted military rescue vehicle and is stationed at Fire Station 3 on Temple Avenue. Whitley said the camper is supplied with coffee, water, Gatorade, heat or air conditioning, towels, blankets, spare gloves and anything else a firefighter or other public safety worker may need on the job. The camper was used by the department during the ice storm in February, Whitley said, and is now available for any public safety worker in the city or county for whatever situation it might be needed. Planning is also in motion for the fire department’s Station 4, which will be located on Millard Farmer Industrial Boulevard, Whitley said. The new station is expected to pull around 1,000 emergency calls away from Station 1 on Jefferson Street in downtown Newnan, and personnel will be able to quickly respond to calls north of the downtown business district. Whitley said he hopes two new firefighter positions will open up toward the end of the year, and he plans to gradually hire more personnel each year to get ready for the new station. Whitley said he typically plays it conservatively with the budget during the first eight months of the year, so the open positions are not set in stone at the moment.

Police in Grantville, Senoia look to improve towns By Wes Mayer

Two police departments in the smaller Coweta municipalities of Grantville and Senoia have great plans for 2014. “I am going to put a stop to drugs in Grantville,” said Grantville Police Chief Doug Jordan. “The people in Grantville deserve to have a better place to live.” Jordan said one of his greatest goals of 2014 is to hire more off icers and jumpstart the police department’s drug interdiction unit. During a Grantville City Council meeting in February, the city granted the police department funding for two new officers, and Adam Elbrecth and Evan Greison were hired for the positions shortly after. The department was hoping to have Elbrecth and Greison on duty by March 17, Jordan said. In addition to the two new officers, the police department received approval for the purchase of two new 2014 Dodge Chargers. Jordan is still seeking to expand the department with two more officers — that way, three officers will always be on duty per shift, there will be more time available for training and days off, and the department will have enough personnel for the drug interdiction unit, Jordan said. Over the past year, Jordan said the crime rate has fallen in Grantville, and in 2013, there were six reported burglaries in the city. These burglaries were mostly solved in February, and Jordan said the basis for these crimes was to pawn the stolen items to help pay for drugs. “When we stop the drugs, we will knock out 90 percent of the crime in Grantville,” Jordan said. To add even more to future drug interdiction unit, the Gra nt v i l le Pol ice Depa r tment will be receiving its first K-9 narcotics unit from Alabama K-9 this year, Jordan said. Officer William Faulkner,

Grantville Police Chief Doug Jordan

who was 2013 officer of the year, volunteered for the position. Faulkner will train with the dog in Alabama and will become its handler. Jordan said Faulkner was the best man for the job. Recently, both Peachtree City and Newnan were ranked in the top 50 safest cities in Georgia. Jordan believes Grantville deserves a place on that list. “My goal is for the city of Grantville to be the safest city in Georgia by the end of the year,” he said.

Senoia hopes to hire new officer The Senoia Police Department i s a lso pla n n i ng on i ncrea si ng t he si ze of its department — the entire 2014 budget is built around the hiring of one new officer, said Senoia Police Ch ief Jason Edens. The police department is beginning to receive applicants for the position, and hope to have the new officer hired and ready for duty by the summer. “Basically, we are just trying to continue to hone our skills with better training and equipment,” Edens said. “This is also our year to address vehicle fleet issues.” Edens said the police department will be purchasing seven new vehicles — six 2014 Dodge C h a r ger s a nd one D o dge Durango. These vehicles will be replacing two Chevrolet

The Senoia Police Department is also planning on increasing the size of their department. (Police building in Senoia, Ga. pictured above.)

Impalas, one Dodge Charger, one Ford Explorer and two Ford Crown Victorias, Edens said, but some of the older model vehicles will remain in the department’s spare vehicle fleet. The department is also in the process of transitioning their firearms and ammunition from the .40 caliber rounds to 9mm, Edens said. Due to difficulty in obtaining .40 caliber ammunition, officers will be equipped with the more user friendly 9mm Glock handguns — these firearms hold 17 rounds, have less recoil and are 20 percent cheaper. One of the largest feats of 2013 for the Senoia Police was its achievement in becoming a state certified agency by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The achievement placed the department in the top 109 police departments in Georgia, or in the top 15 percent. The department was officially state certified on Oct. 1, 2013, and will hold onto the achievement for three years — on Sept. 30, 2016, the department will have a chance to apply for recertification. To become certif ied, the Senoia Police Depa r tment had to apply in the program, learn about the association’s requirements and responsibilities and have the department assessed by a representative from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police — according to Lake City Police Chief David

Colwell, who presented the department with the award, the Senoia Police Department met all 129 standards in the assessment. I n 2014, Eden s sa id t he department will be continuously preparing for 2016, when they will be reassessed. “Maintaining the f iles is a daily effort,” Edens said. “When they come to reassess us, we have got to show a new set of files with three years of proof that the policies are still being followed.” Edens said the association has a very specific way for the departments to manage their files for the standards and policies. Edens is a state certified manager for this filing process. But to assist, public safety clerk Valerie Burns will be attending a class in March to become certified as well. Overall, Senoia police have been seeing a rise in thefts in the city, Edens said, mostly due to the growing businesses in the city and the upswing of visitors. To put a stop to this, in 2014, Edens plans to increase the visibility of Senoia police off icers a nd have off icers working face to face with businesses on Main Street. Edens also said the police department has been responding to more traffic accidents. If the department determines these accidents occur more often in certain locations, officers will be directed to traffic enforcement to reduce the number of accidents.

Sunday, March 23, 2014  |  The Newnan Times-Herald — 13D

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14D — The Newnan Times-Herald  |  Sunday, March 23, 2014

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