The morning heat did not deter community residents and local officials from the groundbreaking of Midway’s new city hall Tuesday.
City hall’s new home will be on the corner of Oglethorpe Highway and Charlie Butler Road.
Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington called the groundbreaking “a historical event.”
The city hall was housed in what is now the Midway Police Department, then Liberty Elementary School, before it was transformed into the Liberty County Community Complex, and is now in the Midway Mall.
“We’ve been paying rent there for more than five years,” Washington said. “Some folks say we don’t need a city hall and we’re spending millions of dollars on a city hall. We pay - our rent just went up - $1,100 a month for rent. Everybody should own something. If you only had a one-bedroom apartment it’s yours. So this what we’re trying to do for our citizens, we’re trying to help us own something.”
Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, shared some Midway history, such as the first mayor of Midway being Colon Manning and Midway having a 1928 firetruck, one of the first built by Henry Ford.
“Midway has always been a part of history,” Williams said. “Midway has always had a terrific impact.”
Williams also addressed those who feel the city doesn’t need a new city hall and said “to those who are naysayers, the only logical thing to do is to either help or get out the way.”
The city hall came together through the “spirit of collaboration” Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said.
He said at some point the project will be paid for with special purpose local option sales tax funds, even though the city is starting off using its own funds.
Midway has earmarked about $1 million in SPLOST to pay for the new building and is seeking a bond issue from the Liberty County Public Facility Authority.
“In our county planning workshop we talked about beautification of our gateways and this is one of our gateways. Thank you mayor and council for investing in this area so that we can reap the benefits too,” Lovette said.
After more remarks the ground was ceremonially broken. The groundbreaking was some yards away from the actual site due to standing water and mud.