NEWTON GROVE — Residents and motorists driving through the heart of town will see more changes soon in the popular roundabout.
During a recent town meeting, Laura Wheeler, chair of the Citizens Improving Newton Grove (CING), provided commissioners with an update about the circle. The goal of the landscaping project is to improve its appearance and people serving the military. She was joined by Daniel Jones from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT).
“We’re approaching the end,” Jones said. “I think the only final items are the flagpoles and we got to test the irrigation system to make sure we’re getting everything functioning properly.”
Four stone structures are currently at the north, east, south and west portions of the circles. Along with plants, flags will be flying that represents the United States and North Carolina. The Honor and Remember flag is set to be placed. Some of the symbolism include a red field to represent the blood spilled by service men and women; a blue star for active service in the military; the folded flag to honor families; and a flame as “an eternal reminder of the spirit that has departed this life yet burns on in the memory of all who knew and loved the fallen hero.” The flag was created by a nonprofit organization of the same name with a goal to create a national symbol for soldiers who died in combat.
Some of the other labor mentioned at the meeting includes light installation, fixing electricity glitches and drainage work. Officials wanted to complete the project sooner, but flag poles were incorrectly designed at the same length. Jones said proper etiquette requires the American flag to be placed center and higher than the others. The flags are expected to be placed before the July Fourth celebration after poles arrive in June.
The busy roundabout brings many motorists to Newton Grove because of the closeness of Interstate 40 and other nearby highways. Along with motorists, the CING committee hope troops from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Fort Bragg in Fayetteville and other facilities take notice to know they’re appreciated.
Mayor Gerald Darden added that he’s receiving positive compliments about the improvements. Wheeler thanked Jones and NCDOT for their assistance.
“A lot of people say that DOT is a pain to work with, but I can tell you that it was a pleasure to work with Daniel. He’s done everything he can and beyond to accommodate us and make this a nice project.”
An official completion date or ceremony for the circle project has not been announced.
Mural in planning stages
CING is continuing its beatification efforts with a plan to put up a mural, which will represent the town’s heritage.
“We would like to do something that would add to the cultural environment and history of this community,” Wheeler said.
Some of the ideas to show Newton Grove’s contributions include Parker Gas and Hog Slat, an international business manufacturing swine and farm equipment.
Members selected Robert Hall, an artist who recently completed a mural for Town of Garland, which features Dr. Amos Johnson and his aide, Henry Lee “Buddy” Treadwell, who are labeled as “medical trailblazers” for their innovation of the physician assistant concept. Some of the other part of the mural is Brooks Brothers factory, schoolhouse and railroad.
Hall also specializes in paintings, woodcarving, sculptures, and children’s books. His work was a part of the movie “The Color Purple,” which featured his silhouette designs for promotional purposes.
“We’ve been searching for the past couple of years hoping that we can find someone to do some wall art or a mural of some sort,” Wheeler said. “Our plan is to do something as soon as we can locate the spot.”
Locations being considered is the post office building on Fayetteville Street.
“We’re hoping that we can use the side because that would be a wall that’s seen by so many people because of the traffic,” she said. “There’s people parking going in and out.”
Additional information regarding the project will be presented at a future meeting.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.