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Long authority OKs one business, nixes another
MR LongDevAuthority
Members of the Long County Development Authority go over paper work during the May 9 meeting. - photo by Mike Riddle / Coastal Courier
LUDOWICI -- At a special meeting on May 9, the Long County Development Authority pulled the plug on a proposed new business, which appeared to be going into the industrial park on Highway 84.
At the April 22 meeting, the authority gave initial approval for Elysium Graphics to be deeded approximately three acres in the park. The business would have moved from its Ludowici location.
At that meeting, owner Sean Tucker said the business would put up a 10,000 square foot building and have six employees, but could eventually employ nine-12 people.
However, according to Authority Chairman Terry Gordon, at the May 6 county commission meeting the proposed plan met "strong opposition from the commissioners."
According to Gordon, all commissioners opposed the plan, and as a result it was recommended that the authority review the matter before final approval.
Authority member Michelle Poppell said, "My understanding of this is that the property is set up, for more industrial businesses than retail. If we allow businesses to go into the park which are inconsistent with the county's comprehensive long-term plan, and inconsistent with what it is intended for, it opens the county up for a lawsuit."
Discussion also was over whether there would be a skate park in the building too, and the safety of kids in an industrial site.
Authority member Christy Wingate said, "I don't think a retail business ought to be in there and from what I have been told a skate park of some type is going in also, which both are inappropriate in my opinion".
Member Lila Bell added, "Well it is definitely more of a retail business, than a manufacturing or industrial, and from what I understand, the plans are also to serve hotdogs and drinks, with the skate park."
It was also reported that the One-Georgia grant used to buy the park had stipulated that businesses in the park were to be industrial, manufacturing or distribution.
"With the information given by One-Georgia, if we allow this to go into the site, it may hurt us in the future, should we apply for another grant," Gordon said.
All members voted to not approve the project, stating that the business would not meet the covenants and requirements.
Tucker said he was disappointed.
"As for the issue of safety for kids, everything would be in the building and this really wasn't an issue," he said. "Also we do large scale jobs on manufacturing and producing goods, so that justifies it going into the park.
"This isn't about either of those issues, but more so about the county commissioners dictating to the development authority what they want them to do."
He questioned why authority members changed from their earlier support of his plan.
The authority did OK Paul McGowan going ahead with a roofing business in the park.  According to Gordon, the project will manufacture metal roof panels and their components, and will be a roofing supply company. It will be on nine acres, have a 106,000 square foot building and bring in as many as 45 jobs.
Gordon also told authority members that Elite Concrete had shown interest in establishing a business in the park and bringing six jobs.
After discussion, however, authority members voted against the project because of the number of jobs and perceived problems with concrete companies.
Gordon also reported that on May 7, he had met with Liberty County Development Authority CEO Ron Tolley after he had come to the April meeting.
"Liberty County is very receptive to working with us. They don't have the access to the railroad as we do, and we will do all we can to work with them also," Gordon said.
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