COVINGTON — Newton County officials are planning two groundbreakings in the coming days to kick off projects approved by voters in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendums.

Commissioners will host a groundbreaking Friday for the expansion of Newton County Senior Services at the Turner Lake Complex. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. at 6183 Turner Lake Road.

The expansion project, budgeted at $1.8 million, is among several projects that were designated as priorities on the 2017 SPLOST list. Those projects will be paid for through bonds that were issued in September.

County Manager Lloyd Kerr told commissioners last week that he expects to be able to schedule a groundbreaking for the new northside fire station in February.

County voters approved $1.1 million for the fire station project in 2011. At that time, commissioners opted to wait until all the needed revenue had been collected before beginning construction on the project.

Once funding was collected, the county had to find an appropriate location for the new fire station, which will be dubbed Fire Station No. 8. Officials initially thought the station could be constructed at the site of the existing North Newton station on Ga. Highway 81, which was formerly a volunteer fire station. However, further study of that site showed that it was not large enough for the necessary setback from the state highway.

In June the county approved a $41,000 contract to purchase a 4-acre site for the station on Gum Creek Road.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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