Chairman Bryan County Commission
It’s no secret that Bryan County is growing. In the last year, with the work of the Development Authority of Bryan County, we have announced six manufacturing and distribution centers on the I-16 and I-95 corridors. These centers are expected to bring over 11,000 jobs to our region and invest $6.7 billion, and that’s just in Bryan County. They include the Hyundai Metaplant, Hyundai Mobis, Kiss Cosmetics, Komar Brands, Norma Precision, and Websterant.
The Hyundai Metaplant, located on the mega-site property at U.S. 280 and I-16, is the bulk of the investment and job creation, but the Metaplant needs other suppliers in the area.
Hyundai Mobis, (1,500 jobs) announced in 2022 on the Belfast Keller Road corridor, is to manufacture electric power systems for the cars built at the mega-site. I’m sure there are more to come to Bryan County and to the surrounding counties.
Naturally, there are questions that come with these projects and I want to take a moment to answer those. The most common question we get is about traffic on U.S. 280 and on Belfast Keller Road. The plan for both of these corridors is to widen the roads to four lanes and install new roundabouts where needed. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is overseeing many of the projects on U.S. 280 and has moved the timeline for these projects several years ahead of the initial plans. In fact, GDOT has already made the I-16/ U.S. 280 Intersection safer by installing much-needed traffic signals. The projects that Bryan County is undertaking are also moving faster to accommodate the incoming industries. Improvements to Belfast Keller Road, are being funded with City of Richmond Hill and developer agreements, are planned and construction can move ahead soon.
Another question frequently asked is “where will the employees come from?” In recent seminars hosted by the Savannah World Trade Center and the Savannah Harbor I-16 Joint Development Authority, Jeanne Charbonneau, who worked with relocating South Koreans in the the Montgomery, Alabama Hyundai Plant, said that ultimately only 100 to 200 of the jobs in the plant are held by South Koreans. Most of the upper management positions are held by Koreans, who rotate to and from South Korea every 2-5 years. The remaining jobs are sourced from the surrounding communities. That is expected to hold true for the Hyundai Metaplant’s expected 8,000+ jobs as well. Local colleges and universities in cooperation with the State of Georgia are working with the companies to create training programs and degrees that will yield a ready workforce. Workforce housing of all price ranges is already being planned by developers throughout the area.
Ultimately, however, the question for most people is “how will this affect me?” The best answer to that is more amenities and new locations for the restaurants and retail stores that Bryan County citizens want. We can’t dictate what companies locate here, but they are usually attracted by larger populations and need. The important part right now is to improve the infrastructure before the demand. The State of Georgia is helping with that part, by providing hundreds of millions of dollars for water, sewer, and roadway infrastructure to prevent Bryan County from shouldering the burden of the complete infrastructure costs.
Over the next few years, a lot of roadway, water and sewer, and housing projects will be underway to support the growth. The end goal, of course, is to provide a great place to live, work, and play while eliminating long commutes and maximizing the time you can spend doing what you love in your own backyard. That’s certainly my goal, and I thank you for allowing me to serve as Chairman to help achieve that vision for everyone.