City and county officials convened Wednesday to discuss community issues, low Census numbers and what each entity has been involved in since last year’s workshop.
During the opening day of the workshop, representatives discussed highlights from the past year and announced upcoming projects:
Hinesville — City Manager Billy Edwards
• The No. 1 concern is getting the 2010 Census numbers fixed to count those soldiers who were deployed April 1.
• Plans are in the works to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on Fort Stewart, which is maintained by the city. The work is expected to cost around $17 million.
• The widening of Frank Conchran Drive also was discussed.
Liberty Regional Medical Center — CEO Scott Kroell
• A new symbolic emblem was unveiled in past few months.
• The physicians recruitment currently is in process.
• He announced a partnership for the new Curtis & Elizabeth Anderson Institute, which focuses on caring for those with cancer in Hinesville.
• A clinic is expected to be built in Midway.
• Electronic medical records are coming soon.
Liberty County Development Authority — CEO Ron Tolley
• He discussed the opening of the Firth Rixson facility in Midway.
• Firth Rixson was featured in “Business Facilities” magazine.
• Several customer-appreciation events are in the works.
• Quarterly newsletters will address LCDA events, updates, etc.
Hinesville Downtown Development Authority — Director Vicki Davis
• Memorial Drive still is the focus; funding is in progress for an art centerpiece created by a SCAD student.
• “Buy a brick” campaign to fund centerpiece sculpture and bricks will make up the base
• Bryant Commons should be completed in 13-14 months and will have a minimum of six cultural annual events
• Farmer’s Market opens next week
Liberty County — County Administrator Joey Brown
• The justice center will open next week.
• Old courthouse renovations will start in about 60 days. The renovations will allow the Liberty Planning Consolidated Commission, division of elections and juvenile court to move into the building.
• The Riceboro/Midway branch library will be added to the East End Community Complex.
• The new Department of Child and Family Services will have a groundbreaking ceremony in the next 30 days.
• Future projects include the expansion of the Hinesville-branch library, county-parking improvements, countywide fire protection, the west-end fire-station design currently in progress and an animal-control facility.
Liberty County Health Department — Administrator Deidre Howell
• A new parking lot is in the works.
• A new WIC building being added on Fort Stewart was discussed.
• The health department provided 75 mammograms for women without insurance.
• It provided 44 colonoscopies for those without insurance.
• The department received an 8-percent grant-aid cut and will lose $86,000 of funding if the 2010 Census numbers remain the same.
• The health-department building is outdated; it needs upgrades to protect the privacy of clients.
Midway — Mayor Clemontine Washington
• Midway approved 19 new business licenses.
• An additional police officer was hired.
• Midway reviewed and increased water rates.
• Washington was named United Way of the Coastal Empire adult volunteer of the year.
Flemington — Mayor Sandra Martin
• Martin discussed the opening of a new hotel.
• She also talked about the addition of a new coffee shop.
• The 2010 Census indicated a doubled population.
Riceboro — Mayor Pro tem Tommy Williams
• Funding for the historic baptismal trail and park is on the way.
• The fire station was expanded.
• There is a plan to add toilets near Riceboro Creek.
Walthourville — Mayor Daisy Pray
• The city no longer is over-pumping its water system.
• Walthourville Seniors, a volunteer organization, is active in the community.
Liberty County Chamber of Commerce — Executive Director Leah Poole
• The chamber plans to grow membership by 10 percent; currently there are 431 members.
• The chamber also plans to maintain 95 percent of its existing members.
• The chamber is working to get Liberty County “camera ready” to allow producers and movie companies to film throughout the year.
• The goal is to make it a “certified chamber” according to the state of Georgia’s standards.
Liberty Campus of Savannah Technical College — Dean of Student Affairs Terrie Sellers
• The HOPE scholarship and grant will pay 90 percent of tuition, but no fees or book stipends.
• A direct student loan will be available with a 1-percent interest.
• Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, speculated that in the next three years it will “probably be 70-percent coverage”
• The campus is converting to a semester system instead of quarterly.
Hinesville Housing Authority — Executive Director Debra Williams
• There is a need for more affordable housing for low-income families — ideally, 50 more units.
• There is a yearlong waiting list for units to become available.
• All 205 low-income housing units are full.
Fort Stewart Growth Management Partnership — Director Jeff Ricketson
• There is potential for a new brigade to come to Fort Stewart from Europe; details still are unknown.