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City, county move forward on industrial park
W benjy thompson
Benjy Thompson, the CEO of the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Development Authority

    One of the final hurdles to an industrial development project at the U.S. Highway 301 South and Interstate 16 interchange is cleared.
    City of Statesboro and Bulloch County officials signed off this month on an intergovernmental agreement that sets guidelines regarding utilities at the 516-acre site.
    The contract will allow the City of Statesboro’s Water/Wastewater Department to begin laying groundwork for what officials hope can become an industrial park similar to the Gateway Industrial Park located on Highway 301, closer to the city limits.
    “We have let people know that we have the property at the interchange, and now that there is a plan in place for utilities, we are in a much better position to recruit for our property out there,” said Benjy Thompson, the CEO of the Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce Development Authority. “We hope to see more good, solid industry partners locate out there.
    “We’ve been fortunate with Gateway to have Briggs & Stratton, Walmart, Viracon, Great Dane, H.A. Sack and some of the other properties,” he continued. “We’d like to see some of the same type of industrial partners that we have in our community come to our property at the interchange.”
    According to Statesboro City Manager Frank Parker, installing utility lines and structures will cost an estimated $10 million, plus additional cost for natural gas, landscaping, roads and other infrastructural needs. The county and city will share some costs. 
    With a go-ahead from Statesboro City Council and Bulloch County commissioners next week, the project would be completed within the next 18-24 months, he said.
    “This park is aimed at industry, but you will see some commercial — restaurants and fast food franchises — develop out there as well,” Parker said.
    The driving force in establishing the industrial park, and tax allocation district, near the interchange was to generate additional money and jobs for the region, Thompson said.
    City and county leaders hope demand for nearby access to the Port of Savannah will help draw new business.
    “It’s early in the process, but some industries have shown some interest,” Thompson said. “(The industrial park) would benefit not just Statesboro and Bulloch County, but plenty of folks living close by.”
   
    Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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