Coweta defies recession in 2012

If you think there are long-lasting effects of the recession still remaining, don’t look in Coweta County if you expect to find them. With 2012 now at an end and 2013 unfolding, a look back showed Coweta making substantial progress on a number of fronts that should bode quite well for the coming year.

Nowhere in south metro Atlanta was the evidence of a recession-defying economy more clear than in Coweta. Perhaps as significant as anything was the August opening of the 226,000 square-foot Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital at Ashley Park near Interstate 85 in Newnan. Aimed at serving patients from across the Southeastern United States, the all-digital hospital features 50 beds, ICU rooms, surgical suites, state-of-the-art radiation and infusion therapy departments, an on-site outpatient clinic, rehabilitation and physical therapy and on-site residential accommodations for outpatients and their families. CTCA officials said the hospital is projecting a local economic impact of $500 million in the first five years of operation.

A short distance away on the other side of I-85 the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital on Poplar Road opened its doors in May. The 9-story, 136-bed hospital features 14 postpartum beds, 18 critical care beds and 104 general medical/surgical patient beds. The 362,376 square-foot facility also contains eight operating rooms and 23 patient rooms in the emergency department. Positioned adjacent to the hospital is a new 125,000 square-foot medical office building in which all the offices were leased before the new hospital opened.

And in December, the 40,000 square-foot Newnan Professional Center opened on Newnan Crossing Boulevard at Poplar Road, just across from Piedmont Newnan.

With these and other healthcare providers likely to establish a presence in the area, it makes the progress on the new Poplar Road interchange at I-85 all the more relevant. The Ga. Dept. of Transportation in July approved the concept plan for the full-diamond interchange. Long in the planning stages, the interchange could be completed as early as 2017 if all the local, state and federal funding can be obtained in a timely manner. As for Coweta’s part, up to $15 million can come from the local 1-percent sales tax (SPLOST).

But all the economic activity was not confined to healthcare. Ground was broken in August for the new 21,410 square-foot Don Jackson Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealership currently under construction in east Coweta along Ga. Highway 34 across from the Summit Family YMCA.

Coweta County Administrator Theron Gay in noting other activities in 2012 that will continue to play out in 2013 said new educational opportunities should be on the horizon at the West Georgia Technical College as the college continues its work on the new campus near Turkey Creek Road and I-85. Also in the works is the potential for the University of West Georgia to expand its presence on Coweta County by moving into the old Newnan Hospital building.

But 2012 was not only about the local economy or educational offerings. Voters in 2012 agreed to continue the local SPLOST that will fund a variety of projects while the county and municipalities worked out the formula for the local option sales tax without having to take the matter to court, Gay said. And during 2012 the county made changes to its operations that created a more efficient use of personnel while maintaining its level of service to citizens, said Gay.

Gay also noted that the instrument landing system project at the Newnan-Coweta County Airport is expected to show more headway in 2013, as are projects such as the expansion at the Coweta County Justice Center, the new fire station in Madras and the expansion work at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re real excited,” Gay said of the accomplishments of 2012 and the expectations for 2013. “The county and the municipalities are in good financial shape. Coweta will be a good growth area over the coming years."

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