From the uptown shadow cast by larger cities such as Charlotte to the down-home feeling created from lying at the doorstep of the Appalachian Mountains, the City of Newton has something for everyone.
On the Square in the downtown area, visitors can get a sense of Newton’s past at the Catawba County Museum of History, where the region’s story is artfully displayed in the unique setting of the former Catawba County Courthouse, an imposing National Register Renaissance Revival structure built in 1924. Other attractions include the Historic Newton Depot and Museum, and the Newton-Conover Civic & Performance Place. The Newton Parks & Recreation Department helps advance the attractiveness of the community and its quality of life through a diverse and comprehensive program of recreational, educational, and cultural programs for both old and young alike.[full]
Newton’s first residents established themselves around the first county courthouse in late 1843, and in 1855 gained their town charter.
In those fruitful 12 years, early citizens set up stores and houses around Court Square, and opened Catawba College.
Despite many obstacles, Newtonians acquired a railroad, weathered four hard years of Civil War, and a decade of Reconstruction.
Those ordeals over, townspeople welcomed the coming of trains and factories during the Gilded Age. In the early 20th century, Newton lost its college, but deepened its commercial base and expanded its industrial infrastructure.
Townspeople served well in both World Wars and their children grew up with the nation to be more inclusive and individualistic during the Cold War decades.
Newton celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2005 with a well-received Sesquicentennial Celebration. The City continues its diversification of business and industry, shifting from its successful history of textiles and furniture manufacturing to become home to a number of large, well-known industries.
Newton’s current population of approximately 13,000 is also diverse, and our people are what makes Newton truly shine as the County Seat of Catawba County.
The second largest city in the county, Newton was experienced a steady rate of growth since 1970, expanding from 7,600 to the current population of over 13,000 people. The City has a wide array of advantages – challenging places to work, low cost of living, diverse cultures, a vast array of recreational opportunities, arts and culture, and an unparalleled lifestyle. In fact, Catawba County has been recognized as being one of the top ten areas in American to raise family.
Over the past several years, Newton has sought to diversify and balance its threatened traditional manufacturing base. A productive partnership with the County and regional economic development organizations has produced a comprehensive methodology for identifying and recruiting new business and industry, both manufacturing and non-manufacturing. The transition from a traditional manufacturing economy to a more modern, diversified structure has benefited from a pool of skilled, productive workers loyal to the area. With hard work and determination, Newton has been highly successful in advancing its economy.
Median resident age: 36.9 years
Median household income: $36,696 (year 2000)
Median house value: $83,900 (year 2000)
Races in Newton:
White Non-Hispanic (73.40 %)
Black (12.30 %)
Hispanic (9.50 %)
Other race (4.60 %)
Other Asian (2.70 %)
Two or more races (1.60 %)
American Indian (0.80 %)
For population 25 years and over in Newton
High school or higher: 70.80 %
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 15.10 %
Graduate or professional degree: 3.80 %
Unemployed: 5.90 %
Mean travel time to work: 20.8 minutes
For population 15 years and over in Newton city
Never married: 23.00 %
Now married: 53.40 %
Separated: 4.70 %
Widowed: 10.00 %
Divorced: 8.90 %
Industries providing employment:
Manufacturing (44.50 %)
Educational, health and social services (13.30 %)
Retail trade (12.40 %)
ACCOMPLISHING EMPLOYMENT OBJECTIVES
Newton strives to maintain its competitive position by providing both new and relocating business and industry with an excellent infrastructure, access to a productive labor force, a wide range of expansion/relocation incentives, outstanding technology and training, and proximity to a vast number of suppliers. These efforts were rewarded in July 2006 when Target Corporation announced that will locate a major regional distribution center outside Newton that will bring at least 550 new jobs to the area. Construction on the $90 million, 1.5-million square foot facility will begin in 2007 with hiring to start in January 2008. Newton will provide all utilities to the site, and will also provide a generator to ensure an uninterruptible power supply.
Key factors in building the reputation leading to this type of recruiting success include the area’s unparalleled support of new and small businesses and one of the nation’s best public-private sector partnerships supporting local businesses and industries. Businesses are confident that if they make a business investment in the region, it will be a sound and profitable choice. The area has a proven portfolio with outstanding returns.
The shelter of the mountains moderate winter temperatures and provides refreshing summer breezes providing an environment and ambiance favorable for year-round outdoor activities. Newton’s average annual temperature is 57 degrees F, with a range of 41 F in January to 77 F in July. The usual freeze-free period extends from the first week of April to the first week of November. Precipitation averages 49 inches yearly. The City’s location in the foothills of the mountains exerts a strong influence on the comfortable and pleasing climate. Elevation within the county ranges from 705 to 1780 feet, with Newton averaging about 1000 feet.
The National League of Cities (NLC) and CH2M HILL honored the City as a finalist for the 2006 Awards for Municipal Excellence, which recognize outstanding programs that have significantly contributed to the quality of life in their city. The City also earned a Public Power Award of Excellence in four categories at the ElectriCities Annual Meeting in August 2006. The City’s drinking water earned the Area Wide Optimization Program award from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its quality. The Water Treatment Plant Superintendent also won the 2006 Water Operator of the Year Award, further denoting its water quality. In addition, the City’s Planning Department earned a 2006 Marvin Collins Outstanding Planning Award. These achievements truly demonstrate the efforts and professionalism of the Mayor, City Council, and City staff.
Newton is strategically located in the Hickory Metropolitan Area. The City has a diverse industrial base, with companies producing fiber optic cable, automotive parts, baked goods, medical supplies, telecommunications technology, as well as traditional industries such as furniture and textiles. Over half of the nation’s furniture is produced within a 200-mile radius of Newton.
INC Magazine has twice named the region as one of the top entrepreneurial areas in America in both traditional and high-tech industries. The region has been recognized as offering businesses all the necessary tools to excel in a world-class business environment.
The City Parks & Recreation Department maintains five parks (including numerous ball fields, tennis courts, walking/jogging trails, and picnic tables/shelters), a swimming pool, two recreation centers with gymnasiums, and a fitness center. The department also sponsors many athletic and entertainment activities throughout the year.
In August 2006, the City hosted the 117th Annual Soldiers Reunion, featuring almost a week of patriotic and entertaining activities for area residents, including a parade in downtown. The event is the oldest patriotic celebration in the nation that is not based on a holiday.
Business North Carolina magazine ranked the region as having the second-best business environment of the state’s 50th largest communities.
The construction of the US Highway 321 freeway to the west of the City has shortened the driving time to the Charlotte metropolitan area and ushers in a new life for the rural southern portion of the county. The highway improvement is expected to bring rapid commercial and industrial growth along this important transportation corridor.