In 1979, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources signed a lease with Central Illinois Public Service Company which designated the 1,775-acre Newton Lake and 540 acres of shoreline as a day use conservation area. By agreement, recreational activities at Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area consist of fishing, picnicking, trail use and deer hunting.
Central Illinois Public Service Company constructed an electric power generating plant in Jasper County southwest of Newton. The Newton Plant was the most modern in the network of CIPS generating plants, fueled by coal and utilizing the latest developments in sulfur dioxide removal systems. When the two generators at the plant operate simultaneously a total generating capacity of approximately 1,180,000 kilowatts is produced.