Residents watching industrial development in Effingham Co. closely

EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Homes and an elementary school in one part of Effingham County will eventually neighbor a massive industrial park that's currently being developed just outside of Rincon.

The Effingham County Industrial Development Authority acquired 2,700 acres of land through eminent domain more than a decade ago. Just a few years ago, it was rezoned for industrial use. The only County Commission vote against rezoning was from Commissioner Vera Jones, and she explained why.

"That's not the best place to have a school, with industrial property. Are there buffers and things in place that can protect that, yes there is," Jones said.

With phase one of a four-phase development of the industrial park becoming more visible, parents of students at nearby Blandford Elementary wonder what impact the Savannah Gateway Industrial Hub could have on McCall Road traffic.

"I've seen wrecks here, right at the front there. People coming in and out of the school. I've seen a wreck there before, and just seeing all the development here, just kinda worries you," said Russ Calahan, the parent of a Blandford Elementary School student.

Commissioner Jones says along with buffers between the industrial development and its neighbors, the developer, OmniTRAX, will also address traffic issues.

'This particular company that's planning on building in there does plan on improving the road first with an additional lane and walking sidewalks and some things like that to be a good partner to the community. It should be, needs to be used for a short period of time and then move over to the parkway. That's the long-term plan," Jones said.

Jones is referencing the future Effingham Parkway, which is slated to be completed in a few years. It's access to that, rail lines, and proximity to the Port of Savannah, developers and the county are hoping to make this industrial hub attractive to businesses.

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