McDuffie County has big plans for 2006. The past year was a prelude for improvements that will see action in the New Year. Those plans include lots of construction and infrastructure enhancements, according to County Manger Don Norton.
"I think it (2005) was a good year," Mr. Norton said. "...The year was spent trying to pull a bunch of projects together, and I think they're pretty much at the point where they can now get started. It was a little bit of a building year, you might say, just getting ready for some of these projects to go."
The projects on the books for McDuffie County this year include the eastern bypass and consequently the construction of a new fire station one. Also, construction on the Three Points Road interchange at Interstate 20 should begin.
Mr. Norton said bids should go out this spring on the water system expansion that is scheduled for this year. As for the sewer expansion projects, the Dallas Drive project is 50 percent complete and will be finished later this year. The Hwy. 150, Belle Meade and Cobbham Road sewer projects should begin later in 2006 as well, he said.
The Sweetwater gym should be completed this summer while construction on several other projects is scheduled to begin. Clark-Reese Road will be paved, and work on the Transportation Enhancement Project in downtown Thomson - a joint project with the city - is scheduled to start this month.
Other joint projects with Thomson underway this year are the Thomson Company renovation, the airport development and runway extension and the Clarks Hill Partnership which includes economic development efforts with four other surrounding counties.
Mr. Norton said there should be movement on the joint city/county government complex in 2006. It is something he said officials will have to get more serious about this year.
"Unfortunately some of these projects are sort of multi-year projects. They truly take a while to get going," Mr. Norton said. "Once they get going, they'll move pretty good. I would hope maybe in '06 we're going to really see some bricks and mortar in place on some of these things, so to speak."
As for expected growth in the New Year, Planning Board Director Fred Guerrant said McDuffie County should see its fair share. Love's Travel Stop, north of I-20, is scheduled for construction this spring. That and other businesses moving in are good signs for officials.
"This area still continues to grow," Mr. Guerrant said, pointing to the recent additions of Tractor Supply Company and Checkers. "I think we're probably in line in the future for significant growth in this county."
That fact is also demonstrated by growth in the county's housing industry. New subdivisions and expansions of older ones are currently underway. Several others are in the works but have not filed plans with Mr. Guerrant's department yet.