COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. – Just when you think Columbia County couldn’t grow anymore, commercial permits went up from 54 last year to 87 this year, a more than 50 percent increase.
“We’re seeing a lot of growth in the Grovetown area. We have the new Culverts that just opened. We’ve got Chick-fil-A coming, we have Aldi coming, Lidl. We have a Dairy Queen that’s about to open. Dunkin Donuts that’s about to open. So, a lot of growth in that area,” said Deputy Administrator Matt Schlachter.
Schlachter says it’s more than just the Gateway area growing.
“Riverwood is seeing some commercial development out there, you have the second phase of Mullins Crossing. You see dirt moving out there. They’re coming on board rather quickly. We don’t have all those companies yet that are going there but we know they’re coming soon,” said Schlachter
Right now, Columbia County is the 28th fastest growing county in the nation, home to 148,000 residents. Schlachter says that’s exactly what draws big business.
“Our population is growing. A lot of these big retailers are looking for a certain number of roof tops, certain population, certain demographic before they come to an area,” said Schlachter.
Of course with growth comes growing pains…aka, traffic.
“We are widening our streets, we’re trying to stay ahead of this growth, we have a lot of money we’re spending on road construction right now. We have about 200-million in road projects on the books right now that are funded. So, we’re trying our best to keep up with this growth,” said Schlachter.
Besides building permits, commercial building inspections in Columbia County also shot up by 774 this year compared to last.