Calling it a win for the community and its residents, Bryan County Commissioners on Tuesday night voted to spend $3.5 million to buy what was once the site of the Bryan County Fisherman’s Cooperative, a 22-acre facility in South Bryan where shrimpers unloaded their catches during its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.
It will eventually become a public recreation area with boat ramps, a community dock and pavilion, County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger said.
And that’s just for starters. “This will be one of the only areas of public access to the water left on the northern coast of Georgia,” he said. “Out of everybody I’ve talked to about this, I have not heard any negative comments. It’s a great project for our community, a great project for the residents of Bryan County, and it’s a great project for this region, really.”
Infinger said he’s spent the past four months on the project, which included working with state and federal officials to find funding to turn the site into a recreational area. “We’ve already done our due diligence,” he said. “Now the next phase for us to get public input, come up with some conceptual plans and get the best use we can out of this facility for the public.”
The county is buying the property from Atlanta- based Keller LLC out of general fund money, Infinger said, but could ask voters to approve it as Special Local Option Sales Tax project when the next SPLOST is up for a vote in 2023.
The co-op was at one point in the 2000s destined to become a marina and condos after it was sold in 2004, but that never happened.
The site, which had fallen into disrepair, was purchased in 1975 for $30,000 and sold in 2004 for $3 million, according to Bryan County tax records.