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Growth is good, but planning needed
Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce

Note: This is the first in a series of stories on the State of the Community.

Bryan County’s decades- long growth spurt was the common theme at the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce’s fourth State of the Community Breakfast held March 3 at the Richmond Hill City Center.

That, and planning ways to try and keep up with it.

Moderated by longtime Thomas & Hutton engineer Ralph Forbes, a member of the RHBCC’s Government Affairs Committee, the roughly two -hour event in front of a full house of chamber members and elected officials featured updates on everything from infrastructure for the Bryan County Mega-Site to the new Richmond Hill High School.

And if there was a consensus among those who spoke at the event, it was that more growth is headed to what the U.S. Census Bureau said was already the fastest growing county in Georgia from 2010-2020 and the sixth fastest in the U.S. The updates came from a panel consisting of Development Authority CEO Anna Anna Chafin, Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher, Pembroke Mayor Pro-Tem Tiffany Walraven, Fort Stewart Deputy Garrison Commander Steven Hood, Richmond Hill City Manager Chris Lovell, Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor and Richmond Hill CVB Director Christy Sherman.

DABC: Chafin, who has been head of the DABC since 2013, started off with an announcement that a heavy construction equipment dealer, Ascendum Volvo, is setting up a 20,000 square foot sales and service shop in the Belfast Commerce Center. Chafin noted the expansion of the drilling equipment manufacturer CZM in Black Creek as well as plans by St. Joseph’s/ Candler’s to build a medical facility there. In South Bryan, Medline’s soon-to-be operational, massive 1.2 million square foot medical supply distribution facility at the Belfast Keller interchange in Richmond Hill, with the capacity to eventually provide up to 600 jobs, will share space with FedEx, Chafin said. Companies ranging from Anatolia Capital Corp, CRG and Rooker to XEBEC, VanTrust and Chesterfield have also established a presence in Bryan County, Chafin said.

She added that the DABC has begun working with Bryan County Schools on an annual Industry Day in which local students get an opportunity to tour local industries. The goal? To show them they can stay in Bryan County and work in well paying jobs.

And, Chafin said the DABC will sponsor a RHBCC luncheon May 10 on the tax breaks available for employers in the county’s four Military Census Tracts.

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