Local Officials React to DaimlerChrysler Decision

The site near I-95 and I-16.
The site near I-95 and I-16.

Leaders in Chatham County who have worked to bring the proposed DaimlerChrysler plant to the Coastal Empire are very disappointed. But they have a positive outlook for the future of the "megasite" in Pooler. WTOC spoke with some of the people directly involved with the planning. They say they are not giving up hope, but now the state will start shopping around for other users for the site.

"Essentially the company told us they are going to postpone the decision indefinitely," said Rick Winger of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. Though the news is disappointing for leaders who have tried to bring DaimlerChrysler to Pooler for more than a year, this cloud may have a silver lining. "They still very much like Georgia and they love Savannah, and if the project gets approved at some point in the future, this is the site where they would come."

But in the mean time, SEDA says it can't reserve one of Georgia's only megasites forever. "There are other companies that...have expressed interest and we'll be talking to them," said Winger.

And Gov. Sonny Perdue has built up some of those relationships already. "I think Gov. Perdue had a very good tour of many companies while he was in Germany, and communications are good with all of them," said Winger.

County commissioner Dean Kicklighter, who represents the area of the megasite, says it's just a matter of time before someone else takes it or even DaimlerChrysler jumps back on the bandwagon. "I would encourage people of Chatham County not to get excited about this," he said. "We have the best location in the US and I think if we are patient, something amazing will move to the site and bring many new jobs to the area."

Work will continue on the site, but nothing specific to DaimlerChrysler.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com