Prospect could bring 50 jobs

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A prospective business could bring as many as 50 new jobs to Bainbridge, the top local industry recruiter told city officials Tuesday.

Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Development Authority, attended Tuesday night’s meeting of the Bainbridge City Council to present details of a company’s plans to potentially move onto what was formerly the Lynch Machinery property, located in north-central Bainbridge in what is sometimes called the Eureka Heights neighborhood.

McCaskill said the prospect had deemed necessary the proposed permanent closing of three sections of streets near the property, which is home to several structures—some built as recently as the 1980s, and some dating back to the 1920s, he said. The approximately 4.5-acre property is bordered on the north by Cemetery Street, to the west by Webster Street, on the south by Back Street and railroad tracks and to the east by Albany Road, according to a site plan and tax assessor records.

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McCaskill described the portions of roadway which the prospect would desire to see closed as: Cemetery Street, running east-to-west between its intersections with Webster and Independent; a short stretch of Independent Street, running north-to-south between its intersections with Cemetery and Back streets; and Helen Street, running north to south between its intersections with Cemetery and Back streets. All three sections are essentially one block or less and are much narrower than the majority of streets throughout the city; the section of Helen Street is literally an alleyway.

City Manager Chris Hobby said he believed the prospect was seeking to establish a single, unified campus for multiple security reasons.

While the majority of the Council supported the prospect’s plans, Councilman Joe Sweet Jr.—who lives on North Clay Street north of Back Street—voiced strong opposition to any streets being closed because he believes it would affect his family and others from having access to Albany Road.

Hobby said he conducted a preliminary review with Public Safety Director Larry Funderburke, who judged the potential impact of emergency vehicles’ access to the area to be minimal.

While neither McCaskill nor the interested business’ proposed site plan—prepared by Thomasville architectural/engineering firm Jinright, Ryan and Lynn—name the prospect, it would appear to be related to the food service industry, according to details of proposed future construction.

While McCaskill stressed final negotiations were still “a long way off,” he said the prospect was spending a considerable amount of time and money into researching the opportunity.