The future is “bright” in Newberry when the City of Newberry and Newberry Electric Cooperative (NEC) partner together – starting with Highway 219.

City Manager Matt DeWitt said after Samsung’s recent investment in Newberry along the corridor into the city on Highway 219, a welcome sign was added at the I-26 and exit 76 interchanges to give visitors the feel of entering a city.

“Newberry Electric Cooperative stepped up and powered light to that new city welcome sign so that it became visible to incoming traffic after dark,” DeWitt said. “But something was still missing.”

One of the criticisms they often heard, DeWitt said was that that corridor was dark after dusk and didn’t give visitors the inviting feeling of entering the “City of Friendly Folks.”

Taking consideration to the feedback from residents in Newberry, DeWitt and Keith Avery, president and CEO of NEC decided to brighten the stretch of Highway 219 starting just before Willingham’s Building Supply and continuing out to the interstate interchange at exit 76.

“As the community is aware, Samsung recently made a major investment of millions of dollars into Newberry and due to this, traffic counts have picked up,” DeWitt said. “Komatsu, the Holiday Inn Express and the Newberry County industrial park are all located along Highway 219 and play a vital role in the economic stability of the county.”

Retail Strategies, the city’s retail recruitment partners see Highway 219 as the growth corridor for the city and both NEC and the City of Newberry expect to see continued investment around that area for years to come.

DeWitt and Avery said they knew this lighting addition could make the corridor feel more welcoming and inviting to those traveling into Newberry in the evenings and could help provide a safer passageway for those both coming and going.

 “Our goals are the same – to do what we can to benefit the citizens of Newberry,” Avery said.

Avery said he believed this project demonstrated the cooperation that NEC has with the City of Newberry and that it would not be the last project they worked on jointly.

“If you haven’t come through 219 in a while you should check out the bright future in store for Newberry as you’re on your way in to enjoy Christmas festivities over the holidays,” DeWitt said.

A full list of downtown Christmas activities can be found at www.newberrychristmas.com.