APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) – Despite the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19, leaders in Columbia County are striving for progress. Soon White Oak Business Park right off of Appling-Harlem Road will get a lot bigger.
“Making Columbia County one of the best places to live,” said Robbie Bennet, Development Authority of Columbia County Executive Director.
Putting the groundwork in to churn the local economy, Wednesday the Development Authority of Columbia County Board of Directors approved an intergovernmental agreement with the county commission and an $11.2 million bond resolution to expand White Oak Business Park.
Columbia County commissioners gave the greenlight to the agreement and consented to support their end of the bond resolution during the Board of Commissioners meeting on December 1.
“We’re going to be adding 341 acres to the business park. That will give us a little bit more than 600 acres for White Oak,” said Bennet.
Phase one of the industrial park is a Georgia Accelerated Ready for Development site.
Bennett explained, “What that means is our office has gone through and done all the due diligence that is necessary to help a company know the site they’re getting is a good site. Ready for industrial development and it allows them to mitigate their risk. And be able to move quickly through the process.”
Right now, construction of the new Amazon distribution center is well underway.
“We’re also seeing a lot of interest in projects looking for opportunities to grow in our market. Having this extra land really just puts us at another notch where we need to be to attract those companies to help diverse the tax base and create jobs,” said Bennett.
As for traffic, patterns were designed for growth in mind so if changes need to be made, they can be pending approval.
Bennett added, “The continuous green T (intersection) on Appling-Harlem is designed to keep traffic moving so that residents in Columbia County can access to their destinations, keeping them safe, and keeping our truck traffic and employee traffic safe as well.
The Development Authority of Columbia County plans to close on the land at White Oak at the end of the month then sell the parcels of land to tenants.