County ap­proves op­tions for pos­si­ble in­dus­try site

The Covington News - - LOCAL - Dar­ryl Welch dwelch@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers voted 4-1 to ap­prove pur­chase op­tions on two tracts of land to­tal­ing nearly 1,000 acres to be used as part of a meg­a­site to at­tract in­dus­try and jobs to the county. District 5 Com­mis­sioner Ron­nie Cowan cast the lone dis­sent­ing vote. The vote came af­ter a mid-meet­ing ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion that lasted just over a half hour Tues­day night. The amount paid for the pur­chase op­tion was not dis­closed dur­ing the meet­ing. Cit­ing a nondis­clo­sure agree­ment, County At­tor­ney Me­gan Martin said af­ter the meet­ing she was un­able to dis­close the amount of money paid or of­fer much in­for­ma­tion on the project.

“It’s a po­ten­tial in­dus­trial project. That’s all I can share with you,” she said. Martin said there has been no county pur­chase of any land at this junc­ture.

David Bernd, vice pres­i­dent of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment with the New­ton County Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, said the county paid a nom­i­nal fee for the pur­chase op­tion but could not pro­vide the amount. He said the pur­chase op­tions are used to lock in the price of the land for a pe­riod of time.

“It’s a pro­ce­dure to go through so the price can’t change,” he said. Bernd said the land is in the north­east cor­ner of the county 1.2 miles from In­ter­state 20, off of Ge­or­gia 11. It will used as part of the His­toric Heart­land Meg­a­site. Ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment web­site, there are cur­rently two meg­a­sites lo­cated on the east side of the county. The other is the Stan­ton Springs site where Shire and the Ge­or­gia Bio­science Train­ing Cen­ter are lo­cated.

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