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County discusses proposed industrial park
Commissioners also consider Five Points intersection
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Bulloch County Commissioners heard Tuesday from a consultant regarding the proposed industrial park on U.S. 301 South near Interstate 16.

Deepal Eliatamby, president of Alliance Consulting and Engineering Company from Columbia, SC, gave a presentation during Tuesday's Bulloch County Commission meeting.

After commissioners requested assistance from the Coastal Regional Commission, they were referred to Eliatamby for answers to questions about what steps should be taken regarding the park.

Eliatamby told the group the property, about 200 acres, is a prime location for an industrial park, being in close proximity to an interstate, and halfway between major ports and large commercial hubs such as Atlanta.

The location is very important, he said. "That's huge. Companies will locate where they can reach their customer base, where there is ease of accessibility, and the (community) is business friendly."

The location is convenient to the proposed Jasper Ocean Terminal that will serve the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014, he said.

But the park must be developed and offer what companies want, he said. Commissioners need to make the right decisions because "this may be the most single important financial decision the county will make."

Commissioners need to form a master plan, a business plan, marketing plan and pay attention to timing, he said. If the park doesn't offer what companies need when they begin looking, the location will "be eliminated from their list."

The park needs to be aesthetically pleasing, have adequate water, wastewater and storm water management, and infrastructure needs to be in place for road as well as railroad traffic. Utilities infrastructure needs to be planned, and commissioners should begin planning for funding, schedules, wetland and environmental permits, as well as design, he said.

Eliatamby said funding options for the park include Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), a Tax Allocation District (TAD), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grants, One Georgia grants and funding from the Economic Development Administration.

Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch said the commission will likely consider onsite waste treatment as well as water, since the option to connect to the City of Statesboro would likely not be feasible.

"Logistically, we're about six miles away" from the city's water sources," he said. "We're looking into onsite centralized sewer, and we also may create a rural water district funded by a USDA loan."

Bulloch County Commissioners also discussed a proposed intersection improvement project at the Five Points intersection of Pretoria Rushing, Burkhalter and other roads.

Couch said funds will not be available until this summer, and the work is projected to begin in 2012.

Commissioners have reviewed three design concepts - a roundabout, a traffic signal or controlled four-way stop, he said.

There would be sidewalks and crosswalks at the busy intersection. Couch said he has heard input from some with concerns that a roundabout would pose hardships for farmers and those driving 18-wheelers, but added that a roundabout could be modified to accommodate larger

Future plans for the site, which is located near Berkshire and other relatively new subdivisions as well as a recycling center, could include construction of a convenience store, he said.

Couch told commissioners "Time is of the essence, and I feel we would have to come to a conclusion within the next couple of weeks" regarding the decision on what type of design is used. He suggested public input in the form of a public hearing would be a good idea.

Bulloch County Commission Chairman Garrett Nevil said the plan should be deciding on the design then solicit bids on the project.

"You have to be visionary, look down the road 20 years to possible future development, "he said. "We shouldn't be closed-minded to change."

During the meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners also approved a bid of $195,800 by Y-Delta Construction for lighting for a tennis center at Mill Creek Park.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 912-489-9414.





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