Story by Ashley Watson and Lewis Levine
Two new projects are underway as two separate groundbreakings were held last week for the construction of the new Liberty County Boys & Girls Club and the new Dryden Enterprise development called Richmond Pass on Charlie Butler Road.
This past Friday the community came together to celebrate the groundbreaking for the construction of the Liberty County Boys & Girls Club at 5540 W Oglethorpe High adjacent to Cedar Hill Mobile Home Park in Walthourville.
The local Boys & Girls Club was something Edna Walthour had envisioned for the community for quite some time. She said the Walthourville location will be the first of what she hopes will be several clubs throughout the area operating under the charter of Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club of Savannah.
“We had some generous donors who blessed us with a parcel of land for our first Boys & Girls club,” Walthour said. “We waited for 18 months but it was worth the wait and they helped us through the process throughout the way. We are going go ahead and break ground. We are so excited today.”
Walthour said they’ve been trying to get a local Boys & Girls Club within the County for many years.
“This is an area where it is very much needed,” she said.
Walthour said the club will provide safety for children as well as a youth development to help children become productive members of society. She said the club also offers job development for the youth.
She said the first portion of the building should be completed in 14 months. They hope to add the gym immediately after.
Board member Malcolm Williams said they’ve been busy trying to raise funds for the organization. He said the new club will benefit the youth greatly.
“For our community this is long overdue,” Williams said.
David Loo owns Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park and donated 6.3 acres of land facing Highway 84 to the Boys & Girls Club to develop the facility.
“We are relatively new investors to the Liberty County area,” Loo said. “But one of the things that was very important to us was that we contribute back to the community. As an owner of residential units I think it is important is to help families educate their young and provide them opportunities and programs. It was important for us to make a meaningful impact.”
During his speech State Representative Al Williams collected donations with one gentleman handing him a check for $3,000.
On March 23, Claude Dryden, of Dryden Enterprises, and his team held a groundbreaking ceremony of his new development, Richmond Pass, located on Charlie Butler Road in Midway. The new neighborhood will feature 46 lots of one and two story homes.
“Richmond Pass is going to be a relaxed, natural layout,” said Erin Johnson, the marketing manager of Dryden Enterprises. “There won’t be a pool or a playground necessarily, but there will be a ton of green space. We encourage our homebuyers to take full advantage of the local amenities like Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center across the street as well as other places.”
Another advantage homeowners will have is their proximity to Interstate 95. Richmond Pass is just over a mile from the interstate so it will provide quick access for residents who work outside of Liberty County. Dryden chose Midway to build his new community because Midway has that small town feeling that a lot of people are searching for. “Forever people were trying to leave Liberty County so they could move into Richmond Hill and other areas. Now we’re seeing that reversed- people are moving here,” said Dryden. “We have low crimes compared to the other areas. We have good public schools so people don’t have to go through the cost of enrolling their children in private schools. And the cost of living is less here. There’s adequate shopping and enough restaurants but, they still don’t have that big metropolis feel. There’s still a rural feel to it. We hear that a lot.”
Out of everyone Dryden wanted to thank, commissioner Marion Stevens is the one Dryden spoke fondly of. “The development is being built in the district of commissioner Stevens,” he said. “I very much want to thank him for his support and help. He was very instrumental in this.”
The neighborhood will bring more affordable housing to Midway because the community is eligible for 100 percent financing through USDA loans. The community should be finished in eighteen months. No more than two years. Although the construction is nowhere finished Dryden feels confident. “What a great success it’s going to be,” he said. “Half of these lots have already been sold. We just got started a couple weeks ago. I think this location is just going to be desirable.”