Preserving Our Town Character

Through the public forums, citizens stressed that as the city grows, they don’t want Newton to lose its community character, sense of place, and emphasis on friendliness. Instead, people want to capitalize on Newton’s character in marketing the community.

Improving Communication

One frustration for many who spoke at the public forums is that local citizens don’t appreciate all that Newton has going for it. A common theme was that community members must do a better job of communicating internally all that’s going on — and going right — in Newton. Citizens need to be proud of where they live and advocate Newton’s strengths to outsiders.

Improving information-sharing is one goal of the plan. This includes improving communication between City Hall and the community, as well as establishing a collaborative leadership council to improve coordination and communication between groups working with transportation, social service delivery, health care, education, and housing.

The plan also calls for the preservation and development of community gathering places such as city parks, neighborhood schools, and playgrounds, as well as private-sector third spaces.

Sharing Community Pride

Continuing to promote community pride is also discussed in the plan. Through organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and other nonprofits, the plan encourages the city to continue organizing community events, encouraging volunteerism, and promoting interest in the community’s history.

Establishing and promoting historic neighborhood associations will also help people see the value of maintaining and revitalizing older neighborhoods, which give downtown Newton much of its charm.

Insights

“Newton has a rich character; we have an authentic heritage, and we owe it to our community to preserve that. Our architecture from the 1880s and beyond, our church architecture, our stained glass windows, our public art — all of those are part of our heritage, and while we’re looking at the future, those define our past, and I think it’s important to us to embrace that.”
— Barb Burns, community advancement coordinator