Officials see some signs of recovery

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2010

City of Bainbridge officials have seen some signs of economic recovery during the past year, they shared with the City Council at its Tuesday night meeting.

Perhaps the most significant statistic was a recovery in the amount of local construction in 2009-2010, after a dismal 2008-2009. Before the recession hit, there was $21.08 million in residential and commercial construction in the city’s 2007-2008 fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. In ‘08-’09, construction plummeted to just $5.96 million. During the past year, construction climbed up to $9.07 million, according to Building Official Bob Gardner. Plumbing, electrical and mechanical construction, which wasn’t tabulated, probably represented an additional $750,000, Gardner said.

Residential construction accounted for $6.1 million of the total, which still indicates that commercial construction is still sluggish, although that has the potential to change within the coming year, Gardner said.

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Major permitted projects during ‘09-10 included the approval of the final plat for Southgate subdivision, a multi-phase residential development underway off U.S. 27 South. According to developer Mike Conder, a well was recently completed to serve the subdivision and irrigation of the land and utility installation are forthcoming.

Another project is Ridgefield Place, a subdivision of 44 homes being built on approximately 14 acres off Hubert Dollar Drive, said City Planner Dustin Dowdy. Gardner said building permits are up from last year, particularly over the past few months.

Communications Director Adrienne Harrison, who is also director of the Bainbridge Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Bainbridge Welcome Center, also shared how she is promoting the city. In addition to traditional media, Harrison said she is using the Web and making contacts in the hospitality and outdoor tourism industries in an effort to inform and invite more people to Bainbridge.

Downtown Bainbridge netted 19 new jobs during the past year, Main Street Director Dit Albritton said.