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Work on I-16 park plans forges ahead
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Plans for the sprawling industrial park straddling I-16 near Meldrim are slowly taking shape.

Effingham County commissioners approved a sketch plan for two warehouses on the southern tract Tuesday and also OK’d a contract with Moreland Altobelli Associates to conduct a study for the I-16/Old River Road interchange.

As part of the sketch plan, DP Partners, who will develop the industrial park, and Thomas and Hutton engineers showed commissioners a layout of a 1.06 million square foot building and a 650,000 square foot building. Both buildings are to be built on the southern portion of the tract, which is 181.5 acres. The two buildings will take up about 39 acres.

The southern portion is slated to be developed first, and engineers said they have a 100-foot buffer around the property and berm adjacent to the neighboring residential property.

“It’s in line with the stipulations,” 1st District Commissioner Hubert Sapp, who represents the area, said.

Jeremy Merklinger, DP Partners southeast region manager, said they wanted to see if their plans were in line with the requirements placed on developing the southern tract.
“We’re very happy with the progress,” he said. “Everyone from the county to the IDA to the staff has been good to work with.”

The county will act as a pass-through for a $552,000 contract with Moreland Altobelli for designs on upgrades to Old River Road on both sides of I-16, “to have safe traffic flow not only from the industrial park but also from Chatham and Effingham counties,” Merklinger said.

The IDA is footing the bill but can’t enter into a contract with the state for the work, so the county is acting as the fiscal agent.

The county and the IDA also are working on an agreement for water and sewer service at the site.

“We’re probably going to need a little more time with the attorney before we give it back to the IDA board,” county engineer Steve Liotta said.

Sapp said he wanted it spelled out how reuse water would be handled at the site.

“Once this is approved, this is a living document,” he said.

Commission Chairwoman Verna Phillips wanted to make sure the concerns of county staff, Sapp and Commissioner Reggie Loper have been addressed in the final agreement.

“They have been intimately involved with this,” she said.