Are you thinking of moving to Georgia... or more specifically Covington, Georgia? If you are, you're making a great choice!!
I may be a bit prejudiced because I live here... and grew up here. But let's see if I can convince you that what I say about Covington, Georgia being a great place to live - without prejudice - is true. Here are the Top Ten Reasons You'll Want To Make Covington, Georgia Your Home:
10. EDUCATION: Schools and education in Covington and Newton County, Georgia are, admittedly, not the best in the State. However, we're far from the bottom of the list. Schools have taken a hit over the past several years due to rapid growth. However, new school facilities are under construction and more are planned to reduce overcrowding. In fact, a special referendum was just past allowing the county to fund the need for additional school facilities without raising property taxes.
Concerning test scores, Newton County includes test scores for those in self-contained special education classes in its overall score statistics, so school scores appear to be lower than the traditional scores actually are. However, school administrators in the county are serious about the education of our young people, and the county Board of Education spends a lot of time refining curriculum to align with new state-wide standards.
Higher education is also available in Covington with remote campuses of several colleges and universities located in the Covington, Georgia area.
The University of Georgia Board of Regents broke ground in March 2005 for a new campus of Georgia Perimeter College in Covington. This $24 million facility opened this year to over 3,000 students, and is expected to generate some $60 million a year to the local economy. And 12 additional new buildings are already planned and approved for the campus. The 100-acre campus abuts the south side of Interstate 20 at Georgia Highway 11.
9. GROWTH: The last U.S. Census named Covington and Newton County as the third fastest-growing in the state, and the eighth fastest-growing in the nation. Between 1990 and 2000, Newton County's population increased at a rate of 48.3% compared to the State's 26.4%.
Downtown Covington already has a vibrant atmosphere. But in 2005, civic and governmental leaders in Covington announced the proposed development of a hotel, civic center and conference center in downtown which will become a significant revitalization project and a regional draw. The project's facilities will include a 1,200-seat civic center and supporting spaces, 6000 square feet of conference center meeting space and 100 guest rooms in a new, name-brand hotel.
There is currently not a performing arts center with a hotel east of Atlanta, and the nearest civic center in Stone Mountain and has only 120 seats.
The way Covington is growing brings us to the number 8 reason you'll want to make Covington, Georgia your new home...
8. LEADERSHIP: Covington and Newton County are experiencing rapid growth. But, due to the city and counties forward-thinking leadership, it is controlled, proper growth. Civic and government leaders are very careful to ensure land use plans and zoning ordinances are up-to-date and development complies with the latest land use, community development and environmental initiatives. They realize the types of neighborhoods, business and industry which will bring economic well-being to the area, as well as what would be a detriment to local citizens. They are conscious of economic and infrastructure needs of the city and county, but equally conscious of the services and quality of life that the people of Covington and Newton County need and desire.
7. DINING: Covington, Georgia has a broad array of good restaurants and eating establishments. One can find virtually any type of food they desire; American, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Jamaican, Cajun, soul food, country cooking meat and three, etc. We have delis, coffee shops, bakeries, BBQ and rib shacks, fish camps, and a home-made ice cream parlor. Most fast-food chains also have outlets in Covington.
Large chain restaurants, such as Longhorn Steaks and Applebee's can be found in Covington. But the mainstays are our great local restaurants such as Stalvey's for excellent steaks and trimmings, Henderson's for after-church Sunday lunch, and my personal favorite, "RL's Off the Square" for pleasant atmosphere, good wines and great New Orleans-style Cajun food.
6. LOCATION: Covington is ideally located in the center of Newton County along Interstate 20 only 26 miles east of Atlanta. Easy access to the Interstate from virtually any part of the county makes for an easy commute into downtown Atlanta. The eastern perimeter of Atlanta lies within a mere 30-minute drive of Covington.
Not only is Atlanta easily accessible, but both Lake Oconee and Athens are a comfortable 45-minute trip,
Augusta is only a 1.5 hour ride, and one can be in North Georgia and the Smoky Mountains in just over two hours from Covington.
5. COMMUTE: Commuting to your job is not easy from anywhere you live in metropolitan Atlanta. However, the commute from Covington to Atlanta, either via Interstate 20 or any of several surface routes, is better than on any other side of town. Although Covington business and industry provide jobs for the majority of our workforce, over 17,000 commute to jobs outside of Newton County, while approximately 8,500 commute into the county for work. Even with the city's rapid growth in recent years, traffic along the I-20 East corridor from Covington into Atlanta is still much less congested than along I-20 west of Atlanta, and particularly the I-75, I-85 and Georgia Highway 400 corridors to the north and south of the city.
Park and Ride lots are available in Covington. And rapid transit into Atlanta is available from points along the Atlanta Perimeter, I-285, just a short 20 t0 30-minute ride from Covington.
4. "HOLLYWOOD OF THE SOUTH:" Did you know that Covington, Georgia has been given the nickname "Hollywood Of The South?" The city is very popular with television and film producers because of the character and charm of its old Southern-style buildings and homes. A multitude of television shows, commercials and major motion pictures - or portions of them - have been filmed in and around Covington over the past several decades, including "In The Heat Of The Night," "The Dukes Of Hazard," "My Cousin Vinnie," and "Six Pack," just to name a few. It's not unusual on any given day to ride around the historic Covington square and see celebrities and film crews hard at work filming another feature.
3. ARTS AND CULTURE: In addition to the film industry, Covington, Georgia has a vital arts and cultural community supporting and building the downtown area. The Newton County Arts Association sponsors weekly concerts on the city square at various times during the year, and stages multiple concerts and performing arts events - from the Vienna Boys Choir and The Nutcracker ballet to South Pacific and Oklahoma - each year.
On the Newton County Arts Association's performance calendar this season are 15 major events, in addition to the numerous lunch-time and evening concerts on Covington's historic town square.
2. REAL ESTATE: Finding exactly the home you're looking for in Covington, Georgia is easy. There is a broad array to choose from in virtually any style and price range in both the resale and new home markets. There are luxury homes, nice mid-priced homes, starter homes, homes with large lots and acreage, farms, condos, antebellum homes and new homes. Builders and developers continue to start new home communities with features to meet buyers' needs and desires.
Traditional Neighborhood Developments with small lot lines, tree-lined sidewalks, alley-fed garages and timeless architectural styles with front porches set close to the sidewalk are becoming very noticeable in the area. Two good examples of this return to the "neighborhood spirit" are Clark's Grove and Dorchester Place, both only a short walk from Covington's historic square. These neighborhoods possess an eclectic mix of architectural styles in single family detached residences, town homes and loft condominiums.
And in more Covington, Georgia real estate news, a new "college town" will be built in the near future around the Georgia Perimeter College campus. Designed like a small Athens, Georgia, "Mount Pleasant" was approved by the Newton County Board of Commissioners in February, 2007. The town, also based on the principles of Traditional Neighborhood Development, will have a town square, office and retail space and 750 dwelling units, including, lofts, town homes, and single-family units with prices ranging from the mid to upper $100,000's to more than $500,000. The community, as well as the college, will be served by a wastewater and sewage treatment facility in the area, also approved by Commissioners in February.
And the number one reason you'll want to make Covington, Georgia your home...
1. SOUTHERN CHARM: Covington, Georgia is a charming, historic Southern town built around a typical town square. Being the seat of government for Newton County, the historic 1854 courthouse sits on one side of the square. Businesses, primarily in early 1900's building line the remaining four sides. They are clustered around the center park with its Confederate soldier statue and monuments and huge, spreading oaks and magnolia trees. Sidewalks through the park and park benches make it the ideal destination after picking up an ice cream cone at the local ice cream parlor.
Stroll around the square to take advantage of Covington's wide array of shopping. Antique stores, gift shops, clothing shops, cookware and kitchen shops, hardware, art galleries, spas, bakeries, an ice cream parlor and a variety of good restaurants and sandwich shops line the sidewalks. People you pass are friendly, and shopkeepers go out of their way to be sure you find exactly what you're looking for.
Or walk down the tree-lined streets emanating from the square to explore the beautiful old antebellum homes which define Covington's history. Their soaring columns and graceful dignity provide an aura of gracious living and the southern charm that is Covington, Georgia.