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Local leaders plan future work at semi-annual retreat

A variety of updates on projects already in the works topped the agenda of the local governments' mid-year retreat Saturday. Officials from McDuffie County, Thomson, Dearing and the Water and Sewer Commission gathered at the airport to review the status quo.

The meeting agenda included updates on the new city-county website, wireless communications, the Transportation Enhancement Grant, the proposed city-county government building, the Thomson Company redevelopment project, the Clarks Hill Partnership and several water and sewer projects.

Officials had met on a yearly basis for quite some time, but a semi-annual retreat schedule started in recent years as a way to keep projects moving in the right direction and in a timely manner.

"We decided that it behooved us to meet more than once a year, so this is our mid-year meeting," said Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders.

One project that, according to Mr. Flanders, officials have let slide is locating the proposed government complex that will be funded by sales tax dollars. The building will be downtown, but officials have yet to define a site and start purchasing the property.

"We've got to have a plan on how to go about this because it's not going to happen on its own," Mr. Flanders told those present.

County Commissioner Darrell Wester said it was premature to deal with the property purchase plan - which was listed on the agenda - because there is no set location for the building.

A project on a more defined schedule that officials discussed is the second round of Transportation Enhancement Grants. The first round will give downtown Thomson's streets a facelift starting in January while another grant must be applied for by Sept. 23.

Pat Mahoney of the engineering firm Chasman and Associates presented several options on possible street enhancements that could coincide with the building of the proposed government complex.

Also on the agenda was an update on the new comprehensive McDuffie County website. The county's Information Technology Director Kelly Evans told officials that the website was near completion but that it wouldn't go online for a while because several kinks needed working out.

"When we flip it, we'll flip it all over at the same time," she said.

The portal will include the websites for McDuffie County, the cities of Thomson and Dearing, the Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Department and Forward McDuffie. That much information was difficult to consolidate, Mrs. Evans told officials.

"It's like building two website with five perspectives, and it's kind of a large chunk," she said.

Those present at the retreat were also treated to pictures of the Thomson Company buildings that are now owned jointly by Thomson and the county. The building, once cleaned and repaired, could be used as a speculative building for industry looking to move into the county.

Officials also heard reports on communications in the county and eight separate water and sewer projects currently underway or nearing completion. They also heard an update on the five-county partnership surrounding Clarks Hill that is looking to extend the Thomson-McDuffie County airport runway.



Web posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2005











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