Delays caused by oversight, questions from federal agencies finally finished 3 years after ARC grant accepted

The Cedartown City Commission crossed off an important item on their list Monday when after years of paperwork, they were able to approve a bid for work on the York property and prepare it for industrial development.

The work – extending driveway entrances on the property to 200 feet and bringing in water and sewer connections to sites via the Northside Industrial Park next door – will be completed in the months to come by UWS Inc. of Trion, and cost $670,425. They are expected to have the work completed within 120 days from the time they begin work.

City Manager Edward Guzman explained during the March 8 session that the city will have to fund around half of the total cost, the other half being covered by an Appalachian Regional Commission grant provided to the City of Cedartown to make the site GRAD (Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development) certified.

Meaning that it is quicker for a potential industrial partner looking to develop in the area to be able to build faster and without having to incur certain costs in the process, like having to dig expensive water and sewer lines from an already established connection to where they want to build.

Getting the York Property – purchased by the city more than four years ago for the purposes of expanding the industrial park off the Highway 27 bypass – to this point was a three-year process of regulatory issues.

The city completed a Phase I Environmental study, but then had to go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine whether the site had jurisdiction over the waterways. That’s because of the way that wetlands can be potentially categorized, and whether they feed into streams, creeks and rivers that the Corps of Engineers are responsible for maintaining and protecting.

Once that process was completed, the city then faced a question of whether there were any endangered species on the site, had to go through a second determination of whether the site contained any wetlands that had to be protected, then went through two applications for water and sewer.

Finally, the city had to complete a NONSI application process, and then went through the state’s Historical Society for a determination on whether the land had any particular archeological or historical value that would require its protection from development.

After all those processes, the city can now get to work on the site.

A long time coming, City Manager Edward Guzman told commissioners. But ultimately worth the wait with the potential for future development on the property.

Monday’s vote was unanimous to move ahead with the low bidder from UWS, a company that the city hasn’t worked with before. Guzman said that after investigating their previous projects with the City of Rome as a reference, they were able to move forward without issue.

The city also approved on Monday a required update to the city’s drug and alcohol policy for transit drivers, and approved a beer package license for Cleofas Jaramillo for 626 S. Main St. (the El Camino Mexican Market) and for a beer and wine package license for Nadia Hussain for the Cedartown C-Store at 804 East Ave.

Commissioner Dale Tuck abstained from the vote on the El Camino Mexican Market request, because her husband owns the property.

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