By Sarah Wibell
After months of negotiation and planning, Rutledge’s City Hall has moved from the old train depot to 105 Newborn Road, a building previously used as a branch of the Bank of Madison. The move officially began after the first of the new year and will take a couple of weeks to fully complete.
“The Bank of Madison has been excellent with us, and we are hoping to have a grand opening in the first part of February,” remarked Rutledge Mayor Bruce Altznauer. “We ran out of space in our former location.”
According to Altznauer, the city has negotiated a three-year, $2,000 a month lease with the Bank of Madison to use the building. The city hopes to eventually purchase the building from the bank, he said.
“Now, we have a conference room not only for our city council meetings but also where Judge Merritt will hold his monthly court. There is a second conference room that has a separate entrance, so we could rent it out at night and make it available to the public. A couple of people have asked us about having more of a community-type center with suggestions from individuals willing to lead yoga, teach art classes, and hold CPR training. So, that is a possibility that we have now.”
Another result of the additional space acquired by the move is a verbal agreement to establish a substation of the Morgan County Sheriffs Office. Although the substation would not have deputies on-site all of the time, it would provide an alternate location in the area for investigators to file reports.
Furthermore, plans to improve and expand the town’s Visitors Center are being discussed under the guidance of Tracie Sanchez, who manages the Georgia Department for Economic Development’s Tourism Product Development team. Finally, utilizing the building’s construction, Rutledge residents will be able to pay their water bills by way of the former bank’s drive-thru.
The old railway depot will continue to house the maintenance and public works areas; however, ideas are being entertained as to how the now empty office space will be utilized. According to Altznauer, citizens have shared thoughts with the city council that include a small library or a train museum.
“We’ve had a lot of positive comments from people about moving over here