Of­fi­cials push pro­mo­tion of Stan­ton Springs in­dus­trial park

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Stan­ton Springs, the in­dus­trial park hous­ing Bax­ter In­ter­na­tional’s $1 bil­lion man­u­fac­tur­ing cam­pus, could soon be pro­moted to passersby on In­ter­state 20.

Tech­nol­ogy Park At­lanta, the com­pany de­vel­op­ing and mar­ket­ing Stan­ton Springs, asked the county to re­name a por­tion of U.S. High­way 278 to Stan­ton Springs Park­way, county Chair­man Keith El­lis said Tues­day, which could lead to a large green sign on the high­way pro­mot­ing the park­way, and by ex­ten­sion, the in­dus­trial park.

El­lis said Gov. Nathan Deal was sup­port­ive of the move dur­ing his meet­ing with El­lis and the lo­cal Newton County del­e­ga­tion last week.

The plan would be for both Newton and Wal­ton coun­ties to re­name por­tions of U.S. 278 im­me­di­ately around the park to Stan­ton Springs Park­way. El­lis called re­nam­ing the road and get­ting a green in­ter­state sign an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment tool.

El­lis said there’s a lit­tle con­fu­sion about who has the au­thor­ity to re­name a state high­way and fed­eral route. County of­fi­cials thought the state had to make the of­fi­cial change, but the Ge­or­gia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion said the county can make the change lo­cally.

Another re­lated ef­fort would be beau­ti­fy­ing I-20’s exit 101, which is right by the in­dus­trial park’s en­trance. The county would also pur­sue grant fund­ing to beau­tify exit 88 (Al­mon Road) and exit 98 (Ga. High­way 11), which are also in the county, while the city of Cov­ing­ton could seek money to beau­tify ex­its 90 (U.S. 278), 92 (Al­covy Road) and 93 (Ga. High­way 142).

Money is avail­able through the Ge­or­gia Dept. of Trans­porta­tion’s GATE­way Grant Pro­gram. The max­i­mum grant is $50,000, and ap­pli­ca­tions are due by Feb. 28.

Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said stu­dents with the an­nual Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia Met­ro­pol­i­tan De­sign Stu­dio are work­ing on study­ing all six ex­its in the county and look­ing at op­tions to beau­tify each one. John­ston said the stu­dents are try­ing to pull the theme of the area of each exit into the de­sign.

The stu­dents work through The Center for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning. Center Di­rec­tor Kay could not be reached Thurs­day to pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion.

El­lis said Tues­day any in­ter­state im­prove­ments at Al­mon Road will need to work with the planned im­prove­ment of that in­ter­change, which can be con­fus­ing be­cause of a mash-up of traf­fic lights. In ad­di­tion, he said, of­fi­cials are try­ing to re­cruit a ho­tel near Stan­ton Springs, which could change the exit 101 area.

El­lis told the Newton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers about the ideas at Tues­day’s meet­ing, but no ac­tion was re­quested or taken.

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