Central Georgia Governments come together for “I-75 Corridor” Project

| August 18, 2015

Macon

MACON — For the first time, several Central Georgia governments are coming together for a development project they expect will benefit all of them.

They plan to grow business along, what they are calling, the “I-75 Corridor.”

Community leaders say this will bring more people and business to the area.

If you get off the exit at Russell Parkway or Housers Mill Road, it will take you a few miles to find the nearest stores.

“Our goal is, if we can create a vision for the area, so that maybe we can keep it from being hodgepodges of gas stations and convenience stores,” says Jay Flesher, Flint Energies’ Economic and Community Manager.

Flesher is one of the people spearheading a group that aims to bring more business to the interstate.

“You capture a huge marketplace when you have that being traveled the way that it is,” he says.

The regions involved are Warner Robins, Fort Valley, Byron, Perry, and Peach County.

Leaders on in those districts want to develop business along I-75, from the 247 Connector (Exit 146) to Perry Parkway (Exit 138.)

It is about a six-mile stretch.

The group wants to focus on the property off the exits in that corridor.

“It allows each of the bodies to maintain their autonomy, while working toward a common goal, and I think that’s going to be the strength of this process,” says Melvin Walker Jr., Chairman of the Peach County Commissioners.

Most of that land falls in Peach County, so he says they are definitely on board.

“he more we form a collaboration in that manner, the better of we are going to be, I think, in the future,” says Mayor Barbara Williams of Fort Valley.

She says this is the first time these governments have worked together like this.

“Middle Georgia…. it’s time for it to receive its piece of the pie as far as growth is concerned,” she says.

By forming a unified group, they plan to market the land to bring restaurants, shops, or lodging to the new corridor.

Flesher says they wanted to make sure all interested parties came to an agreement before presenting the concept to landowners.

Broker Oliver Bateman represents many of those landowners, and he says he will encourage any kind of growth.

There have been four meetings about the corridor, so far.

Flesher says now that they have determined who is taking part, they can move forward with the next phase, which is creating a committee with members from each region.

“You just have the chance to paint a new picture as people come off the interstate in our community,” he says.

At this point, they do not know when this will be finished or how much it will cost.

Flesher says they hope to fund some of the work with grants.

Their next meeting is at the beginning of September.

WMAZ

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