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LCDA names road for M.L. Coffer
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The Liberty County Development Authority has decided to name a road in the Tradeport East development park after former County Commission Chairman M.L. Coffer.

In addition to his years on the county commission, Coffer was a member of the Coastal Electric Cooperative board of directors, a volunteer firefighter, worked with the Boy Scouts and is a member of the Lions Club Hall of Fame. He served on the county commission from 1983 to 1998.

The road is now under construction inside Tradeport East and will run south from the (new) Sunbury Road. A 700-foot section of the road is being paved to link (new) Sunbury Road with the new Western Power Sports facility; it will be extended for future developments. It has been referred to as the southeast access road.

State Rep. Al Williams, a member of the authority, said, “We are not the best-regarded authority in the county, so when we have a chance to something positive like this we should do it.”

The authority approved its $4,400 share of the cost of consultants who will update MidCoast Regional Airport at Wright Army Airfield’s airport layout plan. The layout is a required element of the FAA-mandated airport master plan.

LCDA, Liberty County and the city of Hinesville, the three partners in the airport, will each pay one-third of the required local match of $13,270. County Administrator Joey Brown reported that $252,000 in FAA and state funds had been committed to help cover the $265,000 price of the airport layout plan.

Authority members discussed a variety of topics near the end of their meetings, including planning referenda on the e-commerce tax exemption and the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax. Williams said, “Both have a certain amount of opposition,” as officials considered scheduling both votes on the same day. A meeting May 6 will consider these matters further.

Authority members considered possible support for the Coastal Plain Coalition. The coalition bills itself as a unified organization of 15 city and county economic development authorities and private sector supporters. The goal of the coalition appears to be weakening the authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect the waters of the United States. It claims some success, circulating copies of letters from government officials to other government officials.

Initially the LCDA thought the coalition a worthwhile effort and paid $18,000 to join. Authority officials became dissatisfied with the pace of coalition work and the lack of regular reports to members--LCDA saw nothing useful, one member said--and did not pay another $18,000 for another year.  

Williams said Liberty County had “not been getting our fair share” of benefit from higher levels of government. “We have not been successful,” he said. Williams called on LCDA Executive Director Ron Tolley to do an updated report on the coalition’s work to provide information for membership decision-making. Tolley and possibly other authority officials were expected to attend a coalition event in Savannah this month.

The authority scheduled its May meeting for Tuesday, May 28. The usual meeting day, May 27, is the observance of Memorial Day.


Parker can be reached by email at

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