Industry is on the way to one of McDuffie County's industrial parks, but if things don't change it may not arrive very soon.
The industrial park at Highway 150 and I-20 recently hit a snag. For the park to be aggressively marketed to attract industry, infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer need to be in place.
Most of that infrastructure has gone off without a hitch. But with sewer lines needing to be laid, some residents are reluctant to hand over the rights necessary for those lines to be installed through their property.
"That sewage treatment project is tied in with the Belle Meade and the 150 (projects), and with the grants that are appropriated for that, you can't do one part without the other," said County Commissioner Darrell Wester. "What we're dealing with is not just going in there and putting in one sewage line for the industrial park. It cannot be done until the residential Belle Meade and the residential Dallas Drive projects are also ready to go."
Dr. Wester said that much of the remaining effort is in getting easements to run lines through property owners' land in those neighborhoods, which is a huge volume of work.
The problem that county officials have run into is some residents have either not responded to the request for easement or have responded negatively to the idea. County commissioners and other officials are spending their evenings contacting property owners about the project.
According to Don Powers -- the head of Forward McDuffie which is the marketing arm of the county that courts industrial development -- the park will be an enormous gem in McDuffie's crown once it is completed.
"I think it will be where in the foreseeable future, there will be industries out there. Not industry. So it will be more than one," Mr. Powers said, adding that the park is in a beneficial location as far as transportation is concerned.
"It's a prime piece of real estate, with all of the utilities, that is on the interstate in a rural county," he said of the park once it is completed. "It'll be attractive."
For now, aggressive marketing of the park may have to be scaled back until all of the easements can be attained. That doesn't mean officials aren't sympathetic to problems that the proposed sewer lines could cause for property owners.
"If somebody's coming on your piece of property, and you've been living there all that time, there's some sentimental attachment to a lot of things," Dr. Wester said.
But he also emphasized the fact that once the sewer lines are laid through a property, it will be returned to as close to its original state as possible.
"Grass will be on top, and in a few months you wouldn't even know it was there," he said. "There are a few places ... where there will be air release valves. But they're small; they're flush with the ground. It's not going to be a big eye sore."