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Walthourville getting new shopping center

POSTED: November 24, 2007 5:01 a.m.
The economic prosperity being experienced in Hinesville and the east end of Liberty County is finally spreading west.
With an increasing population and room to grow, a new retail and restaurant shopping center is coming to the city of Walthourville, after nearly two years of talks between city officials and local businessman Gary Dodd.
During a recent press conference, Dodd said the new complex would fit 10 to 12, including “a grocery store, a drug store, a dollar store, some retail stores, a bank and a fast food restaurant.”
“And I won’t mention any names,” the McDonald’s owner joked. “But we know which one it’s going to be.”
Dodd admitted he was apprehensive about committing to building a new shopping center in Walthourville because of the city’s water problems, but said Mayor Henry Frasier’s efforts to work toward rectifying the situation played a major role in his decision to move forward with the venture.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the mayor because he’s been very encouraging for us to go forward with this and I really appreciate all that he’s done,” he said while shaking hands with Frasier.
Addressing a small gathering of residents, the mayor called the retail center “a great blessing to the city” and noted the continued work of the council to bring more industry to Walthourville.
“We have been working for the last couple of years ... to bring some kind of business like this to the city of Walthourville,” Frasier said. “ And I’m sure it’s going to be a blessing to the citizens.”
He added the complex will aide in creating around 50, much needed jobs, as well as growth for the city, where 13.4 percent of the families live below the federal poverty line, based on the most recent U.S. Census data.
“We know that when we get more jobs, that will mean that we have more residents move in ... and that will be a great growth to our city and we’re proud of it,” Frasier said.
According to councilwoman Patricia Green, the shopping center will make it more convenient for residents in the western portion of the county to enjoy the same shopping experiences available in Hinesville and is something “citizens will be very proud of” once completed.
Dodd said there were still a few permits to be approved for the project, but he expected to break ground after the first of the year, with the shopping center finished by the end of 2008.
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