The Union Recorder

October 9, 2013

Development Authority making moves

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — With a light regular meeting agenda, Milledgeville City Council listened to Milledgeville-Baldwin County Develop Authority Executive Director Matt Poyner during Tuesday's City Hall work session.

Work on the Industrial Park's 44-acre tract visible from Highway 22 nears completion.

“It's pad ready, which means that it will be ready for development. All the utilities are on site,” Poyner said. “We have a couple more things to do, but we should be done by the end of the month with the grading work. We are already getting looks from the state about that.”

Foreign investors want flat, treeless sites.

“There were two projects that went on the radar because these consultants want to see pad ready sites,” he said.

The area surrounding the Spec Building was leveled recently with new erosion control measures being added as well. Easy access ties into a favorable look from big business.

“Now, it's a little more presentable,” Poyner said. “We had prospects we had to pull to the back door and let out. It's hard to sell a building that way.”

Poyner said industries are giving “good looks” at the Spec facility.

Milledgeville did lose an recent advanced manufacturing prospect at the final hour.

The development authority director said it's still positive news that people are coming to this town.

“We are on the radar, which is exciting. We've got another site consultant that has never been to Milledgeville see our resources. He was very impressed with what we had,” Poyner said.

Baldwin County's lack of railroad siding access for heavy industry supply requirements is a competitive disadvantage, according to Poyner.

Existing industries such as Triumph Aerostructures and Zschimmer & Schwarz could utilize rail siding pulled up on the U.S. Highway 441 bypass by the Georgia Department of Transportation. GDOT doesn't want a railroad on a four-lane highway.

“It's a cheaper way to ship their materials,” Poyner said. “It's a challenge to get around because we don't have (rail siding) and other communities do have it at their disposal.”

The authority spoke with CSX Corporation about methods to reconstruct the rail passage traversing the west side.

The railroad issue makes selling the Rheem building important, so Norfolk Southern won't pull that rail line out in the same fashion.

Improving the Baldwin County Airport moved up on the economic development agenda of late.

This county boasts one of three airports in the 11 surrounding counties.

“When our prospects come in, they aren't driving down Highway 441. They are flying in,” Poyner said Tuesday. “The county put some money toward it, and we are going to look to help them as well with some enhancements. That's the first taste when people see Milledgeville.”

More major players are coming into town next March for the Georgia International VIP Tour Poyner announced to Council.

Athens and Augusta join Milledgeville hosting nearly 50 international consulates from around the world.

“We'll have a chance to show them Milledgeville,” he said. “This is exciting. We are building momentum.”

• Deep Roots Festival public consumption and controlled zone approved

City Manager Barry Jarrett said the festival area blocks would close down the evening of Friday, Oct. 18.

The festival is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 and end at 12 a.m. Sunday.

Citizens can still access City Hall and Water Department until closing time next Friday.

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