The Newton City Council tonight is scheduled to consider a proposal to buy the Newton Inn at the southeast corner of the Highway 14 and Interstate 80 interchange. The City would then demolish the 2-story motel and make the land available for new development. The proposed purchase price is 495-thousand dollars. BJM Hotels Incorporated owns the motel. City Staff says one of the largest economic development challenges to gaining interest from hotel developers is vacancy rates. Lower quality hotels and motels have higher vacancy rates, so staff believes having the Newton Inn no longer operating would make the city more attractive to a new hotel/motel developer and improve the look of a main entrance to town. Mayor Mike Hansen notes the Police Department’s workload will probably decrease if the Newton Inn is gone.

The Mayor claims there’s already interest in the site for a variety of uses which he currently can’t comment on. To pay for the acquisition and demolition, the City would borrow money from the Water Pollution Control Fund and the General Fund. Those funds would then be paid back with bond revenue the City will receive this coming spring. Tonight’s Newton City Council meeting next will begin at 6p.m..