Friday is a big day for the economy of Bryan County. That’s when officials will break ground on Belfast Commerce Centre, the long-planned industrial park for the south end of the county.
Local development authority officials have said the Belfast Commerce Centre will bring as many as 2,300 new jobs to Bryan County — not to mention the additional $38 million in estimated tax revenues it’s expected to raise.
That’s a lot of jobs and a lot of money, but it won’t all be reliant on manufacturing and logistics industries similar that at Interstate Centre, the county’s industrial park in Black Creek. Instead, Belfast Commerce Centre will seek to help diversify the economy of South Bryan, according to development authority officials. As a planned urban development, Belfast Commerce Centre will be home to retail stores, restaurants and even home sites in addition to manufacturers.
The idea is for South Bryan residents to be able to “live, work, play” in the comfort of their backyard, so to speak. And for a county where 75 percent of its population goes to work across county lines, keeping everyone at home base is a big part of the grow-your-economy puzzle. Because, according to development authority officials, as it stands now Bryan County only retains about 13 percent of its residents’ disposable income while more than $41 million in sales tax dollars goes to other counties — namely Chatham.
The industrial park will be a boon at the state level as well. With its convenient location near I-95, the state’s rail system and the Port of Savannah, Belfast Commerce Centre will surely be attractive to companies looking to expand or relocate — something guest speaker Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will likely touch on during Friday’s ground-breaking ceremony.
But at the end of the day, it’s the potential this park has to improve the welfare of local residents and strengthen our local economy that makes this a banner day for Bryan County.