Governor will visit
The Development Authority of Elbert County, Elberton and Bowman’s rail link project has gotten a lot of attention and will draw even more as Governor Nathan Deal will visit the site in early December.
“They are needing dry work days,” said Development Authority Chairman Tom Denny at Thursday’s meeting of the authority at the Elbert County campus of Athens Technical College. “They have set a ribbon cutting date of Dec. 8 and the governor is going to be here.”
The $2.5 million project will link two rail lines - CSX and Norfolk Southern - with the Hartwell Railroad line.
The junction of the CSX rail line and the Hartwell rail line is on the west end of Elberton in the approximate area of the overhead bridge where Highway 72 and Highway 17 split.
The project is expected to have a big impact on Caterpillar in Athens.
Members of the development recently went on a tour of the Caterpillar manufacturing facility in Athens.
“Every time we talked to someone at Caterpillar, when they found out we were from Elberton they thanked us for this rail link,” said development authority member Larry Smith.
The Caterpillar tour was organized by Elbert County Administrator Bob Thomas.
Interim Executive Director Allen Nicas told the authority that one of the state’s “major utility companies” asked him to identify 500 acres of land for a “potential solar farm.”
According to Nicas land was identified, an owner was contacted and a price per acre was agreed upon. The utility client is doing due diligence now, said Nicas, and now Elbert County will just have to wait and see if it is in the right place in the state for the site.
The development authority decided to hold off on naming a new slate of officers until possibly June of 2016.
A new slate of officers should have been elected earlier in the year, but with the departure of former economic developer Beth Eavenson and the rail project, the authority has decided to wait until next year before naming new officers. The board will consider it as an item on its agenda at its May 2016 meeting.