From road projects to some major new retail developments and fire stations, 2005 should bring several changes to Columbia County.
A demolition crew removes a warehouse from the Marshall Square property in Evans. The development will be one of the major building projects in Columbia County in 2005.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
County officials say it will be a year in which some major transportation needs will be addressed and at least two major county projects will progress rapidly.
Concerning road projects, Kevin Lear, the county's director of construction and maintenance, said top areas that will be addressed by the county next year will include Washington Road from Ronald Reagan Drive to Fieldstone Way, where the construction of a new center turn lane is set to go out to bid in January; North Belair Road at Columbia Industrial Drive, where a North Belair connector route to Columbia Industrial will be bid on in January; and Washington Road at Gibbs and Hardy-McManus roads, where intersection improvements will be bid on in March and finished by the end of the year.
"Traffic projects is the biggie," said County Commissioner Tommy Mercer, referring to what he thinks will be among the biggest projects for 2005.
The center turn lane planned for Washington Road in Evans should be completed by the summer, Lear said. The North Belair connector road, he said, should be finished by the end of 2005.
Lear also said the construction of three new fire stations in the county will be a big addition.
The stations - to be located at Old Louisville Road at Young Drive, Wrightsboro Road at Clary Cut Road and Sugar Creek Drive at Interstate 20 - should be completed by the end of next year, he said. Temporary buildings will allow the stations to operate in the meantime starting Saturday.
Lear added that the county will bid out by March work at a State Farm office near the Evans Government Complex that will become the new location for the county's emergency services division and Evans sheriff's office substation.
Then there's Marshall Square, a 57.5-acre retail and residential development off North Belair Road that will have its building construction started in the second quarter of 2005, said developer Don Lawrence, adding that site work should begin at the site at the beginning of next year.
This month, buildings already are being taken down to make way for the development, including an industrial building at the corner of North Belair and Ronald Reagan Drive.
Lawrence said about four retailers have already expressed interest in the site. He said he is waiting to give out the specific retail names, but he said that among those retailers is a bookstore.
County Commissioner Tommy Mercer said that along with the Marshall Square development, he is looking forward to the opening of the Target shopping center in October, major construction of the library coming to an end and work on the county's next large park, Blanchard Woods Park, to be completed.
The county's newest library is set to have its construction finished in December 2005, but it will not be opened to the public until April 2006. Officials have said Blanchard Woods, off Blanchard Road in Evans, should open with four soccer fields by fall. More soccer fields would then open later on. Once opened at full capacity, the park will be the largest in the county, eclipsing the size of Patriots Park.
Mercer said he has a 2005 goal for the county to attract more light industrial growth, too.
"Somehow or another we've got to get some light industry into the county," he said.
The county's school system also will see some changes in 2005. In August, a new elementary school on Mullikin Road will open, and in March a vote on the school system's 2007-2012 special purpose local option sales tax will go before voters. Construction also is set to start on a new Evans Middle School and new central office on Hereford Farm Road next year.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.