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Downtown Newton closer to gaining historic status

At Tuesday’s Jasper County Board of Supervisors meeting, Newton Director of Planning and Zoning Erin Chambers will update the board on the progress of getting downtown Newton onto the National Register of Historic Places list.

Chambers is presenting on behalf of the Newton Historic Preservation Commission, whose initial survey in June 2012 began the process of getting downtown Newton on the list. The proposed historical district would extend west from West Fourth Street North all the way east to portions of East Second Street North and East Third Street North. The northern boundary would begin at the alleyways above North Second Avenue and would go as far south as the alleyways south of First Avenue.

In a release, Chambers states that:

“There are a number of recognized benefits for the property owners within a historic district. First, there are economic development benefits of national recognition and increased tourism. In addition to the increased economic notoriety, individual property owners of structures that are older than 50 years and considered ‘contributing’ would be eligible for a number of financial resources that they couldn’t otherwise access.”

Chambers also notes that property owners would have no construction or remodeling limitations placed upon them. If you own the building, you may still do with it as you please. In the release, Chambers also suggests that Newton should push for a Main Street Designation as well so that the city may receive even more benefits and national notoriety.

Photo Permits

Sheriff John Halferty will be asking the board to add an additional fee for weapon permits. The current fee for a five-year permit is $50. Halferty is asking the board to consider charging an additional $10 for citizens who want a plastic permit versus the current paper one. The plastic permit would also include the permit owner’s photo. The choice between paper and plastic would be optional to the purchaser. If approved, the additional funds would go toward the Jasper County General Fund.

Peer Support Center

Community Services Director of Central Point Coordinator of Jasper County Jody Eaton would like the board to consider making an addendum to an agreement the county has with Optimae Life Services. The addendum would call for a $3,000 start-up cost and $1,500 monthly fee to start a Peer Support Center for people with mental illness.

The center would be located at 1422 First Ave. E. and would be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. In the release, Eaton states:

“The purpose of peer support is to provide an environment that will empower people to (perform) self-management of their condition with an emphasis on positive mental health and wellness through peers supporting one another. The Peer Support Center will provide a place for individuals living with mental illness to make friends, socialize, receive personal and educational enhancement.”
In addition the addendum would create the positions of Peer Coordinator, Team Leader and Program Director for the center.

Two public hearings will take place during the meeting. The first hearing will focus on the three parcels of land that county put out to bid. During the hearing the sealed bids for Amboy Ridge, Hamil, and Raider Timber will be read. Interested parties have until 4:30 p.m. Monday April 1 to submit bids to the Auditors Office. During the hearing the board has the option to accept and approve the bid for any of the aforementioned properties.

The second public hearing will be over the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year budget amendment. The amended budget will reallocate nearly $3 million from mental health funding into other expenditures. The change would increase the county ending fund balance from $6,911,277 to $9,379,989.

This maneuver would also trim the counties expenditures from $30,991,605 to $28,522,893. Jasper County’s revenue stream will not be affected by the amendment.

Killduff 5 and 10 Inc. will be asking the board to approve of its request for a liquor license. Killduff 5 and 10 is a filling station located at 1570 Highway 224 S. in Kellogg.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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