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Commissioners OK rezoning for planned travel center off I-95
travel center

Liberty County commissioners have opened the gate for a planned new travel center.

Pending the results of a traffic study, commissioners approved a rezoning for 5.79 acres off Highway 84 near Interstate 95 for a future travel center.

“We picked this site and it is a good stopping site off I-95,” said Jeremy Crosby of JPC Design and Construction.

Most of the property lies within Midway city limits, and Midway City Council members approved the rezoning request at their meeting Monday night.

Plans call for the center to have three fast-food restaurants, two of which will have drive-throughs, comprising more than 4,000 square feet of restaurants. The travel center building is projected to be 30,000 square feet. It will have skylights and will be lighted well, Crosby said.

“It’s very open,” he said of the design.

The plans also call for 40 pumps under a canopy out front, and diesel pumps for tractor-trailer drivers in the rear.

“Truckers have electronic logs that force them to get off the road and rest, so they need spaces,” Crosby said. “They need a place to pull off and get rest and fuel and food.”

Crosby said the state Department of Transportation estimates there are 3,000 truck parking spaces fewer than what is needed on a nightly basis.

“We’re running a business,” he said, “but we’re also providing a service that’s needed in today’s e-commerce.”

The firm built a similar center in 2019 near Jackson at exit 205 off I-75. That center also has a 2,000 square foot gift shop.

“It’s been a big hit with the public,” Crosby said. “It’s shocked us with how successful it’s been.”

Though the plans call for 40 gas pumps, builders may have to cut back that number to 32, unless computer software issues can be worked out.

“They’re working on that,” Crosby told commissioners.

The City of Midway will provide water and sewer to the site, and Crosby said the rest of the tract may be developed in the future. Possible developments include a hotel or a truck service center.

Across the road from the Jackson travel center, a developer has put up one hotel that is full every night, Crosby said, and he has built a second one.

Based on sales at the Jackson location, Crosby projects the Midway site could bring in as much as $1.6 million a year in tax revenue, with bulk coming from sales tax proceeds of gasoline, diesel and inside sales.

The Midway location could generate even more gas tax and sales tax proceeds since it will have more pumps than the Jackson site, Crosby said.

County Administrator Joey Brown noted a traffic study will be required at the time of the site plan review. The study will look at the traffic projections, especially with the increased number of automobiles and tractor-trailers, and what improvements, such as new turn lanes or even a signal, may be needed.

Commission Chairman Donald Lovette said approving the rezoning from AR-1 to B-1 for the travel center shows commissioners are holding to their commitment to make the interchange more of an economic force.

“This is certainly moving in the right direction,” he said. “Now our challenge is to get them to come visit Liberty County.”

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