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Opinion

Brown's Mill expansion, a golden opportunity for Coweta's future


  • By Clay Neely
  • |
  • Feb. 16, 2021 - 8:24 PM

No matter how long you’ve lived in Coweta County, you can’t ignore our rate of growth. With a population expected to reach 217,775 by 2050, it’s no secret the draw our county has.

For longtime residents, Coweta’s identity is rooted in being a rural community. Many escaped other growing areas for the simpler way of life Coweta offered.

But as one of the largest counties in Georgia, Coweta still needs to take measures to ensure residents will have a place of refuge for future generations.

During the pandemic, the desire for outdoor recreation was never more apparent.

Surrounded by uncertainty, residents combatted these issues by spending more time in nature, which has been found to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression.

Experiences in nature promote a restorative environment which allows our brains to rest and recover from daily rigors. Spending only a few hours in nature each week leads to significantly higher self-reports of positive health and well-being.

The recent popularity of Brown’s Mill is no mystery. The pandemic has reawakened many to the power of nature.

For residents who appreciate wellness and the outdoors, Brown’s Mill has provided them hours of outdoor recreation and peace of mind in a world that only seems to get smaller, including our growing county.

Other than Brown’s Mill, there are no other county-owned lands featuring such extensive hiking trails and greenspace available for all residents to enjoy.

It's our community's crown jewel, and it’s currently surrounded by an opportunity to expand its natural paradise, free from the threat of ongoing residential growth.

Currently, it neighbors two properties owned by Coweta County Water and Sewerage, which equal over 380 additional acres of pristine greenspace.

By acquiring the land, the county would solidify the area as a premier outdoor recreation destination for residents.

However, the Water Authority has a fiduciary responsibility to be compensated for the property.

For the county to acquire the land from Coweta Water and Sewerage, it would indicate a desire to maintain not only rural integrity, but to provide residents a place to regain a sense of well-being and to reconnect with nature.

It’s only a matter of time before nearby property owners begin parceling out family property to residential developers as the value of land, especially in this area, only continues to rise.

The expansion of Brown’s Mill would relieve anxieties of residents concerned with the current balance between development and conservation.

Expanding our dedication to land preservation isn’t anti-growth, but an investment in the health and happiness of current and future generations of Cowetans.

If we want Coweta to remain a place we’re proud of and people want to live, we must ensure its identity is preserved. The acquisition of these properties for the purpose of a permanent place of nature would preserve that identity.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to keep a slice of our rural integrity for future generations.

As Mark Twain once said, "Buy land, they're not making it anymore.”

As we look to the future, the county has a golden opportunity to provide a birthright to future generations of residents who understand and appreciate the power of nature.