Stormwater issues stalling planned Hardee’s
Responding to rumors that the water park resort project off Highway 515 could be dead in the water due to findings from recent soil samples, Pickens County Economic Development Director Gerry Nechvatal told Jasper council members the rumors are unfounded and the project is still moving forward.
“It’s kind of the rumor of the week,” Nechvatal said at the Monday, August 4 meeting. “But as of 5:15 today that is not accurate. Anytime you are talking about a project of this magnitude you are going to run across some rock, but I can assure you that there is nothing that is derailing the project.”
The water park project, located near the Highway 515 and Antioch Church Road intersection, is estimated at $145 million. It includes a hotel, conference center, indoor and outdoor water parks and an amphitheatre. Developers with Port Royal have assembled a team of water park and entertainment experts for the project, including Great Wolf Resorts - the world's largest chain of indoor water parks based in Madison, Wis. - and music executive, businessman, record producer, and manager Matthew Knowles (Beyonce’s father).
Groundbreaking has tentatively been planned during the Pickens County Marble Festival the weekend of October 4 and 5, with a slated opening date of fall 2016.
Nechvatal said he and Jasper Mayor John Weaver met with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs last week and came back with positive feedback about the project.
“I see no reason why this will not continue to move forward,” he said.
Council also heard from Pickens County attorney Phil Landrum III in regard to the stalled Hardee’s restaurant project off Highway 515 near the QuikTrip convenience store.
Storm water drainage issues have held up construction for months.
Landrum said there are two issues that need to be addressed by council to get the project to the next step, including the city taking a road on the property into their system, and agreeing to an easement and transference of ownership of a detention pond.
The council voted unanimously to take Hazel Mosley Drive into their system and voted to have the detention pond on the property deeded to the city. They also approved a 10-foot easement along Hazel Mosley Drive.
Mayor Weaver said this move by council will help get the project to the construction phase.
When asked by council member Tony Fountain if the project is still a go, he was told Hardee’s is still very interested, with current property owner Al Lawson saying “They are waiting on us.”
Other news from Jasper council:
• Council voted to open a new bank account with Community Bank of Pickens County for SPLOST monies they will receive from the 2008 SPLOST. Weaver said the city will receive approximately $100,000 in SPLOST funding. Council will meet later this month to discuss how the one-cent tax revenue will be spent.
•Animal control officer Lonnie Waters reported a light month with 17 animal complaints in city limits.
•The Mayor’s Golf Tournament, which benefits the Jasper Youth Sports Association, netted $6,300.