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Commissioners  are just OK with water tower logo

Couch stresses need for marketing industrial park

Commissioners  are just OK with water tower logo

Commissioners  are just OK with water tower logo


When it goes up, one of the most visible parts of an industrial park planned for U.S. Highway 301 South near Interstate 16 might be a 157-foot-high water tower.

With that in mind, the Development Authority of Bulloch County sought input from the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners on a logo that would go on the water tower’s tank.

The commissioners’ response during their Tuesday meeting: It’s good, it’s OK – no strong feelings pro or con.

The logo presented to the commissioners shows the Development Authority’s logo, with the words “Advantage Bulloch,” “Southern Gateway” and “Statesboro Georgia.”

It will be visible, but both Benjy Thompson, the CEO of the Development Authority, and Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch say it will be difficult for motorists to see the logo. That is in part because the tower, originally planned to placed closer to I-16 or Highway 301, instead will be on Rocky Road about halfway between Highway 301 and the eastern edge of the 205-acre property slated for the industrial park.

“Given the height of the tower, I don’t know exactly how much visibility that the water tower will have from travelers on I-16 or, for that matter, 301,” Couch said during the meeting.

The top level when the tower’s tank is at full water capacity — 1 million gallons  — will be 157 feet above the ground. Because the elevation of the land there is 213 feet above sea level, that means the maximum height of the tower will be 370 feet above sea level – the same as other towers in the city of Statesboro’s water system, said Wayne Johnson, the city’s director of water and wastewater, in an interview Friday.

And they must be the same height because, otherwise, the lower tower would fill up in times of low water demand before the higher one since they are connected, Johnson said.

In an interview Thursday, Thompson said the tower was moved because while advertising the industrial park, Bulloch County and Statesboro is a side benefit of a structure like that, its primary goal is to ensure that businesses in the park have adequate water supply. Also, a concern brought up during the Development Authority’s early recruiting for the industrial park was that a business might not want a large water tower in its sight lines toward the interstate.

“It will be visible enough that drivers will know there’s a water tower,” Thompson said. “Their ability to read the logo will be a little inhibited, partly because of the flat ground and trees.”

He said motorists traveling eastbound on I-16 would not be able to see the tower at all because of the lay of the land and the interchange, but westbound motorists would get to see it.

Commissioners Chairman Garrett Nevil said during the Tuesday meeting that once trees are cleared as the park starts be developed, westbound I-16 motorists would be able to see the tower even more clearly.

“I don’t know that it would be a bold, dominating type of thing, but it will be visible,” he said.

Couch added that he is “not currently satisfied” with the pace of the industrial park project. He did cite the city’s recent move to put the project for extending city water and sewer lines to the industrial park out to bid as a positive. That move will cost an estimated $10 million, plus additional expenses for natural gas, landscaping, roads and other infrastructural needs, and should be completed in 18-24 months.

But those proposed road improvements – particularly the widening of a section of Rocky Road to four lanes, the creation of a four-lane road with a traffic signal just north of Rocky, and the creation of a two-lane road that Couch said would serve as a “service road” to the industrial park – should be acted upon sooner than later, Couch said.

The county could earmark revenue from bond proceeds – potentially up to $9 million is available. That, he said, could be used to market to any potential businesses that the proper infrastructure will be in place as well as take advantage of contractors still facing a shortage of projects.

 

“I just think we need to move these things along so that we can be assured that when water and sewer does get out there, that we’re able to tell potential industrial and commercial prospects that we’re actively open for business,” Couch said. “We ought to be putting out those feelers earlier rather than later.”

On Thursday, Thompson said that while he appreciates that sentiment, it might be too early at this point to do extensive marketing.

“We have spent quite a bit of time talking to folks we deal with on industrial and large business recruitment,” he said. “And they tell us that not a lot of recruitment can be done until we know when the infrastructure is going to be there.”

Jason Wermers may be reached at (912) 489-9431.

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