The Union Recorder

Local News

July 14, 2014

Industrial Park getting makeover

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Industrial Park isn’t the most inviting site, as it rests on a community gateway.

The Development Authority has funding available and approved action for Phase 1 park enhancements Friday.

Signage, landscaping, median design, selective tree thinning and pond reclamation are key components, according to Development Authority Executive Director Matt Poyner.

A new welcome sign visible off Ga. 22 that Georgia EMC created should better brand the park.

The sign will have spaces for each industry using the area. Right now, there is no identification from the roadway.

Two other signs, one at the newly graded location near the Ga. 22 and one smaller directional sign inside the established park space, were mentioned Friday.

Poyner said the number of signs depends on budget.

The City of Milledgeville would likely use the same branding theme when they purchase new signage.

“We want to get some good design work, so we can use this all over the community to enhance our gateways,” Poyner said.

Thomas & Hutton will handle the designing and permitting work.

Given the authority director’s landscape architectural background, the cost for enhancements will be lower than the “not-to-exceed” $214,000 budget projected.

Poyner reached out to local Master Gardeners to facilitate aesthetic work on the pond close to the highway.

“Because it’s in a wetlands area, we can’t use mechanized machinery. We’ll have to do everything by hand,” he said. “I’m trying to think of ways to do things where the community can get involved, and it’s also cheaper for us to do the work.”

Small trees and native grasses that don’t require much irrigation are included in the median beautification along with a one-year maintenance warranty for the contractor.

The authority will bid out the work to local companies for the landscape and other in-ground improvements.

“Since I got here, I’ve been harping on trying to make the park a better, aesthetically pleasing area,” Poyner said. “Right now, it doesn’t look nice. We want to open up and enhance what we have. This is a great way to start.”

n GRAD reports finalized by August

The Development Authority recently started the Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) Sites Program certification process for the Industrial Park.

Ten of 12 required reports are completed and the board accepted bids to complete the last two Friday. The final two studies due are cultural resources and endangered species.

“I’m hoping these reports can get done by mid-August,” Poyner said.

Preparing available sites for industrial development with advance due diligence is the work behind the program, established by the Georgia Allies. To qualify for GRAD status, available sites are submitted by a local community or economic development organization to the Allies and reviewed by a third party.

Categories of due diligence and review include a minimum of 50 acres, ownership security, zoning designation, road and rail accessibility, utilities service, and wetlands and stream delineation.

These shovel-ready sites are available for rapid industrial development. Currently, 33 Georgia industrial parks are GRAD certified.

Poyner said attaining the GRAD status is a great marketing tool.

“It behooves us to get this done, since we have the majority of the work done already,” he said.


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