Small Town, Big Ideas

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One Wiregrass town hall is running out of space, and a move could benefit more than just the administrative departments.

The Newton Public Library may soon be sharing its living space with town administrators if town leaders have their way.

Leaders say the town hall is just too crowded, lacking sufficient office and storage space.

They say a move to share with the library could turn out beneficial for both parties.

"They would be able to visit the library at the same time. They will be able to visit the town clerk, the magistrate. My office would be located here, and hopefully it would give them a more central location. Plus the parking, it’d just be a little bit safer for them from backing out of town hall" says Mayor Jean M. Watson.

Officials say the move will not only help the library and administration, but also the police department.

Right now, the Newton Police Department shares the building with the town departments, which officials say, hurts their ability for officers to have adequate space to work.

"It would get them out of their cars where they’re office is at, and get them in the building with their own offices. [Plus] they don’t have to be cluttered," says Chief Steven Oliver.

So what's holding the city back? Money.

Some funding to pay for the installation of central heating and air has already been raised, but city leaders say it would take around $15,000 dollars to make all the renovations.

In a town of about 1700 people, that's a lot of money.

City leaders are seeking help to find local and state dollars.

They say they are hoping to get some economic development aid or grant money.