State of the county address shares plans for growth in Columbia County

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Community leaders shared their vision for the future growth of Columbia county during the 6th annual state of the county address. The event was held at the Columbia County Exhibition Center. With the new Cyber Command Center at Fort Gordon set to open in November, it’s bringing both excitement and challenges for residents.

“Between now and US Army cyber command’s arrival in fiscal year 2019 and 2020 we anticipate an additional three percent of growth which equates to 750 additional personnel, 1000 family members, and an additional 300 school-aged children,” said Colonel Todd Turner.

Reginald Foster is the owner of Tropical Smoothie and has been a resident of Columbia County for 15 years. He says he’s excited about the opportunities the growth will bring for his business.

“We are definitely excited about the growth. We opened a franchise that’s new to the Augusta area and we’re looking for growth in that area, as far as possibly bringing one on Fort Gordon and growing out to Grovetown area.” Foster said.

Other important issues discussed during the address were the overcrowding of Columbia County schools as well as providing additional infrastructure for several development projects such as the general obligation bonds.

“Traffic is on everyone’s mind, the county is getting that together where they are building infrastructure to improve that but again there’s a lot of excitement about cyber command coming to Fort Gordon and the Columbia County area,” Foster added.

Columbia County Commissioner Trey Allan says they’ve had four public meetings in addition to the address to allow citizen input. He plans to release a final list of projects for the community to review before making their decision on whether or not to vote for the obligation bond in November.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Tammy Shepherd says the annual address provides an opportunity for residents to have a conversation with leaders about what they would like to see happen in their county.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn about the next five years and how we can embrace growth and learn from that so we can make better decisions as a business community,” Shepherd said.

Participants in the audience were able to ask questions directly to panelist and get feedback about their concerns.

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