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Plans for I-16 interchange sound exciting
Bullock County GA M-9Web
An illustration of the proposed service plaza at the I-16 - 301 South interchange is shown.

      I don’t think I am the only person that continues to be amazed at the development that surrounds the Metter exit off Interstate-16.

            There is some development in Bulloch County at the intersections of I-16 and Highways 301 and 67, but nothing compared to that of our neighbor and its intersection with I-16 and Georgia Highway 121.

            I wasn’t living here when all of the development began in Candler County along that exit, so I don’t know the background, but still, it seems a little bit odd that our two major exits have remained relatively quiet in comparison to our neighbor. Every time I pass by there I wonder about the amount of tax revenue Candler County and the city of Metter receive from sales generated from those businesses.

            I have been told that the biggest issue has been the lack of water and sewer to the areas around the Bulloch exits, but these are things that can be overcome. If the water/sewer issue is a non issue so to speak, why are our intersections so lonely?

            Over the next few weeks, we may be looking at a litmus test of sorts where development along these intersections is concerned. The company, Flying J Inc., based in Ogden, Utah, is proposing a 22-acre fuel/restaurant depot on the northeast corner of Highway 301 South and I-16. For the development to go forward some of the land in the area will need to be rezoned and a sign variance obtained according to Joey Maxwell, whose company Maxwell Engineering is developing the site and an engineering plan for Flying J.

I was contacted by Terrence Bride, a project director for Flying J. Bride, who provided sales revenues and accompanying tax revenue that his company estimates will be generated by the facility.

According to Bride, Bulloch County should expect to receive annual tax revenues of $2.6 million from fuel, restaurant and merchandise sales. In addition, the facility will employ 60 people and pay wages to those employees exceeding $1.15 million. That’s a lot of “dough” any way you look at it.

Bride said that Bulloch County fits into Flying J’s network of travel plazas. 

“We are going through all of the steps that we need to for site approval,” Bride said. “If we are successful, we could start construction on the facility in October or November. We want local residents to see the economic impact that we would have and see the type of facility that we build and maintain.”

I will be the first to admit that I am tired of driving through Bryan County and seeing all of the new development along the interstate and wondering what if that were us. There are times that I wish we had something more out along our interstate in Bulloch County. And when an opportunity like this one arises, I immediately think, wouldn’t this be great.

But, it isn’t my land, and I am not going to be living near it. I would hope that Flying J would work with its neighbors to buffer and reduce, as much as possible, any impact that it might have. And I would hope that the county would address the need for proportionate signage on the interstate, something that is standard fare in most other areas.

Our neighboring counties seem to be more than willing to do these things, and collect the tax revenues that come with them. It just seems to me with planning, creative thinking, and goodwill, we ought to be able to capture these tax revenues, and most importantly, be good neighbors to one another at the same time.

With new property valuations being mailed out next week, I do not want to send $2.6 million in tax revenues to Bryan, Candler, or any other county unless I have to. Therefore, it is my sincere hope that what needs to be worked out can be in such a fashion that as citizens we all “win.”

            Until next week, I bid you au revoir.

            Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at jmoore@statesboroherald.net