Newton Economic Development Plans

Newton, Miss. Efforts are underway to attract people to downtown Newton, come rain or shine. One big project toward that goal is the expected kick-off of a farmer's market later this spring.

"We're trying to get farmers to commit and make sure that we're actually going to have enough to actually pull this off," said Amanda Blackburn of the Newton Chamber of Commerce. "But we've had fantastic feedback from the community about it. So, we're just super excited, and we hope that we can get it started in May."

Also, there's work on a big project that will improve city streets. It's a major paving initiative.

"We'll be bidding it out within the next month," said Newton Mayor David Carr. "It's for a little over $2 million. We're going to pave five of our major thoroughfare streets in several of the neighborhoods including those by the schools up here."

Aside from the paving project, Carr says bids have been taken to provide wireless Internet access in downtown Newton. He says doing this in other cities has helped to increase traffic and overall exposure for their downtown areas.

"Kosciusko, I talked to the mayor up there a while back and said that at one time he had 400 hits in a short period of time," Carr said. "And they could keep up with how many people were on there at a time. We can advertise the city of Newton on that, and we can also let the people of Newton know what's going on. We're going to try to work out a deal with the Chamber of Commerce. So, the chamber and city of Newton will be together on that."

The plan is to have the wireless service available in downtown Newton by the end of this summer.

The initial cost to install the wireless Internet service is $6,000. City funds will be used as payment. Currently, 3,699 people live in Newton.