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Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - New museum coming to old Shoney's location
W SCVB sketch 3 5
Above is an artist's rendering of the new look for the old Shoney's building on South Main Street. Plans call for the shuttered restaurant to be given new life as a museum. - photo by Special

I cannot tell you how pleased and excited I was when Heidi Jeffers called me last week. Jeffers is the executive director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau. She called to let me know that the organization had just entered into a contract to purchase the former location of the Shoney’s restaurant on South Main Street.

The 4,800 square foot restaurant is going to be renovated with work scheduled to begin in January, finishing in May. I am going to share with you plans for the site, and you will see how progressive and innovative the plans are — so much so that there isn’t anything like it in this part of the state.

First, the front of the building is going to be transformed, and it will look nothing like the current structure. The main entrance will be in the center, and the current side entrance will be used for moving things in and out of the museum that will be located inside the center. That’s right, the building will house exhibits of regional importance that will be procured by Brent Tharp, director of the Georgia Southern Museum and Johnathan O’Neill, a professor of history and department head at Georgia Southern University.

“The SCVB has been a very valuable resource for the Georgia Southern Museum and this community and we look forward to being a partner along with the Department of History in developing this important next step,” Tharp said. “The exhibition area that we are developing together will be an exciting resource in preserving and promoting the area’s unique culture and history. It will also allow the University’s Public History students to develop internships, projects, and programs that will significantly enhance their resumes while also benefiting our community.”

In addition to a museum, the center will house a conference room, offices, an interior lobby, increased storage space, and Ogeechee Technical College will also have a rotating display in the building.

What people will notice the most is the exterior. There will be spots for RV parking, as well as tables and canopies for relaxing and picnicking, green space, a station  to recharge electric car batteries, a means for disposing of RV waste, and a possible path to a dog park near the Willie McTell Trail.

I feel this renovation will significantly enhance South Main Street, and hopefully be a catalyst for the continued redevelopment of Statesboro’s main corridor leading into the city. This is a brilliant move on behalf of the board of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau clearly demonstrating the organization’s commitment to the revitalization of the heart of our community.

I think and I hope that this type of development is indicative of our community’s future — bright, innovative and forward thinking.

So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.

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