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City OKs new retail center behind Midtown Market
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    South Main Street will be getting an upgrade now that the Statesboro City Council has approved plans and variances for a 32,000 square foot retail complex to be built behind Midtown Market.
    The yet-to-be-named development will feature two buildings - a two-story, 25,000 square foot building expected to be occupied by 180 Fitness and a single-story, 7,000 square foot retail building.
    There was concern from residents in the surrounding neighborhood that the development would add additional traffic volume to South College Street and relatively narrow West Kennedy Street. As a result, the plans call for the rear entrance to have a right-turn-only exit, sending traffic north on South College. In addition, the rear entrance was shifted north from its original location so that headlights from exiting traffic will not shine through the front windows of the residence across the street.
    Council also added lighting, signage and buffer requirements to lessen the possible negative impacts on the surround residences, and included architectural requirements as well. Midtown Market owner Richard Marz said in a letter that was read before council that, as the architectural committee for Midtown, he would insure the exterior of the buildings would be aesthetically pleasing and would tie in with the existing look of his property.
    In other business, the city will move forward on with the downtown Streetscape Project after months of negotiating the construction contract with local contractor, Y-Delta, Inc. If all goes well, final negotiations with Georgia Power for the burial of overhead power lines along East Main should be completed soon.
    At the meeting, Haynes said that once final contract negotiations were completed Y-Delta could get started within two weeks, which means construction could start by the end of March.
    During staff reports, Statesboro Fire Chief Dennis Merrifield said he is working with the county and Georgia Southern University to come up with a plan to build an addition fire station near the city borders. Only at the conception phase at this point, Merrifield said he wants to be ready to move quickly should monies be available to the State of Georgia as a result of President Obama's stimulus plan.
    The council meeting ended with a 90-minute executive session held to discuss personnel matters. Though there was heated debate, which occasionally spilled out into the hallway, ultimately no actions were taken once the public portion resumed.
    Phil Boyum may be reached at (912) 489-9454.
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