AMERICUS, Ga. — Americus is getting ready to build a new road in its industrial park area—and though it will be just under a mile long, the new Eaton Road will mean huge incentives for the business community.
Dwight Jones, plant manager at Eaton Corporation in Americus, knows from experience what a life-saver Eaton Road will be for him and the more than 200 employees who work at his plant.
“At any time, the train came through, and then, it has to make stop in front of the facility, and the delay can go from 30-45 minutes,” says Jones.
Community members from Americus and Sumter County came together to celebrate the groundbreaking of Eaton Road on Monday. Funding for the new road is made possible, in part, through funding from a T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) that voters said “yes” to at the polls.
“This is an opportunity to use some of those dollars, those tax dollars that our citizens have voted to tax themselves. Hopefully, they’ll see the benefit and the future of our community,” says Americus Mayor Barry Blount.
However, the bulk of the money for the new road—a half million dollars—comes in the form of a grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
“We also knew with an existing industry with a railroad, of course, we like to see our railways busy, but when it puts a wait time on people getting to work or leaving work or potential safety issues, we wanted to be sure we could address that as well,” says Commissioner Camila Knowles of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
On a larger scale, the road will provide a boost to more than just the Eaton Corporation. It will also open up areas of the industrial area previously landlocked. That will be an incentive for more businesses to build in the area.
“In the next ten days,” says Barbara Grogan, executive director of the Sumter Payroll Authority and Chamber of Commerce, “we’ll put out proposals for bid requests. So, we’re moving pretty quickly.”
“Any prospect is going to ask the logical question, ‘How are we going to get in and out of there,’ and we needed to make sure we had a safe and accessible way to do that,” says Commissioner Knowles of Eaton Road’s ability to offer greater access to undeveloped areas of the industrial park.
Eaton Road is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The Sumter County Development Authority also helped raise a portion of the money to fund the road by clearing the land where the road is being built.