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Rincon, Chamber get GATEway grant
05.29 GAteway
Rincon City Planner LaMeisha Hunter, City Manager Michael Phillips, Mayor Ken Lee and Effingham Chamber President Michael Lee look over the plans for the gateway beautification project along Highway 21 in Rincon. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Officials of the Georgia Department of Transportation have awarded a $27,800 grant to the city of Rincon for roadside enhancement and beautification improvements along the city’s portion of Highway 21.

The grant was awarded to the city as a result of collaborative efforts between the city and the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, Michael Lee, Chamber president said.

“The Effingham Gateways initiative was begun in the fall of 2007 by our Gateway Task Force, headed up by our past Chamber president, Freddy Long. Freddy assembled an inclusive group of business and civic leaders to enhance the appearance of Effingham’s gateways and major thoroughfares. We thank Freddy and members of the task force for their efforts. We also want to recognize and thank officials of the city of Rincon for stepping up and co-sponsoring this project,” Lee said.

“We believe that community image and curb appeal are important to our economy and business environment,” Freddy Long, task force chairman added. “This will enhance our overall economic development efforts.”

Long was quick to point out that the project’s success would not have been possible “without the leadership of the City of Rincon, Mayor Ken Lee and members of the city council, for making a commitment to enhance and maintain the medians along Highway 21. This is our traditional retail center for our community and our county’s most traveled roadway,” Long said.

Improvements will begin at the Rincon city limits at Schweighoffer Creek and proceed north along the grassy areas of Highway 21’s median to an area just north of Wal-Mart.

“Our next step in the process is to slightly amend our landscape plans to meet DOT guidelines and receive a special encroachment permit. After receiving the permit, work can begin.” Long said. “Actual planting of the greenery and such will begin in the fall planting season.”

The Chamber’s Gateway Task Force is also looking for ways to improve the county’s portion of Highway 21 southward to the Chatham County line.

“The DOT still has funding available in its GATEway Grant Program, despite budget cutbacks. We will be looking for ways to work with the county to co-sponsor their portion,” Long said.

Also on the Chamber’s agenda is construction of a new welcome sign to Effingham County. The former sign was removed due to construction at Old Augusta Road and Highway 21.