STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Parts of Statesboro could be in for historic changes.
An area at risk for flooding will soon be the site for a waterway and huge development around it. Organizers say it’s taking lemons and making lemonade. They hope to turn the area that can’t be development into a place for shops, restaurants, and jobs.
Organizers of Creek on the Blue Mile believe it could change parts of Statesboro forever. They want to take the drain canal and develop it into a hub of shops and restaurants that bring people to town.
“It’s as big as we want it to be. There’s a phase one, two, and three,” said developer, Andy Burns. “We don’t have anything like that in Statesboro. There are young professors and professionals here that drive back and forth to Savannah for that. We hope this helps bring them back.”
It eliminates a flood plain through the middle of Statesboro’s busiest real estate and opens it for development. It also connects with the city’s award winning Blue Mile project for redeveloping the South Main Street corridor. Team members say new business and new jobs go with their goals.
“We want to improve green space. We want to improve economic development. We want to improve infrastructure. We want to improve housing. We want to bring arts to this area,” said Keely Fennell, Blue Mile Committee.
It won’t be cheap. Private developers have already lined up to help, and Wednesday night, Governor Nathan Deal announced $5 million in grants and nearly 20 more in loans to build a lake reservoir and recreation area that will feed it.
“To have other amenities like this lake and park, it will be good for everybody. You’ll have people that come and stop and visit. They’ll spend money here so it will be good for the community too,” said Governor Nathan Deal.
Community leaders believe it will bring hundreds of jobs and millions in tax money that will help Statesboro continue to grow.