While the City of Thomson has many plans for continuing the work started in years past, one thing stands out as the major project for the New Year.
Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders said work on the downtown area is at the top of the "things to do" list in 2006. Many other important projects will come on line in the New Year, but revitalizing downtown is paramount to Thomson's growth, he said.
"Downtown development is going to be a major emphasis in 2006. There's no question about that," Mr. Flanders said. "It's going to come from a variety of sources."
Those sources include construction from a Transportation Enhancement Grant that will start within a couple of months and should make downtown look very different. Other development efforts could come from private coffers, the initiation of the museum and from information in a recent study on the economic potential of the area.
This year should also see much done toward the building of a new joint city/county government complex. Mr. Flanders said during 2006 officials should begin working with an architect on plans and move forward on a location.
"That was scheduled out there in our SPLOST funds, but 2006 will be a heavy planning year on how to make that happen and how to coordinate it with the other projects that we've got going in downtown," Mr. Flanders said.
Officials will work on plans for dealing with new traffic patterns that could be caused by the new building. The city and county are awaiting word from the Georgia Department of Transportation on a second TE Grant that could help fund some of those changes.
The Thomson Company project will also continue moving forward this year. Officials will select a company to do building stabilization by the end of February. They will also continue the environmental cleanup, carpet removal and firm up a future use plan.
Mr. Flanders said officials are making plans to apply for a grant to help with housing rehabilitation near downtown as well. They will also partner with Habitat for Humanity in that effort.
Projects in the works for the New Year not directly related to downtown include airport development, annexation of property along the city's borders, continuing the emphasis on code enforcement, cleaning up the "gateways" to the city and boosting the recycling program internally along with the participation of Warren County.
As for this past year, Mr. Flanders considered it successful due to improvements in city and county information systems as well as increased economic development promise.
"We've done a lot of good things that were very strategic in terms of us placing the community in the forefront of some positive economic and commercial development in the coming years," he said. "These kinds of changes move at a glacier pace."