“We believe attractive entrance and exit ramps that are well lit and maintained are much more likely to be used,” according to a joint statement from the three committees. “The results of this project will help encourage travelers to decide to exit Interstate 75 to eat, shop and stay overnight in Gordon County. The benefit of more visitors is a significant increase in our sales tax and hotel/motel tax revenues.”
Currently entitled, “Project 312,” the Tourism Committee, along with the Gordon County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Downtown Development Authority, have proposed a three-phase project to clean up the exits in Gordon County, starting with exit 312.
The first phase will consist of cleaning up the 312 exit ramp and medians. Additionally, mowing will take place providing a 10 to 15 foot strip of grass on each side of the four entrance/exit ramps at the Exit 312 exchange. The mowing will take place once a week as weather permits during the growing season.
Also, edging, trimming, spraying and removing dead grass, weeds, and trash along all four ramps. The labor will be provided by Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston and inmate labor.
Phase two of Project 312 will consist of landscaping which will include the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT).
The project is in need of material donations such as plants, and/or funds for landscaping. The project committee hopes to involve businesses along Exit 312, high school agricultural programs, local garden clubs, local civic clubs, and individuals, to complete the exit clean up.
“The Tourism Committee of the Chamber of Commerce will take the lead in implementing the project. Members of the committee include representatives from both the Calhoun Recreation Department and the Gordon County Recreation Department, local attractions such as New Echota State Historic Site, Harris Arts Center and the GEM Theater, Calhoun Premium Outlets, several hotels and motels, non-profit organizations, Downtown Calhoun and other business and community leaders. This is a prime example of county wide team work.”
The next step in phase two will consist of organizing plantings of flowers and plants along the exits with school agricultural programs, local garden clubs, Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee and Downtown Development Authority members, along with other individuals who present a desire to participate in the project.
The third phase is lighting which will consist of installing additional lighting at exit 312. Currently, Calhoun Utilities has submitted a plan to GDOT to obtain additional lighting. Calhoun Utilities has proposed new LED lighting at the exit that will also be a GREEN product to provide higher quality lighting with reduced energy consumption.
Ideally, the lighting materials will be provided by GDOT, and installations and the cost of electricity will be absorbed by the City of Calhoun/Calhoun Utilities.
Recently, Vice-Chairman: Kenny Fuquea, represented the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Gordon County Board of Commissioners to enlist the county’s help.
According to Commissioner Alvin Long, this project was planned for the county, four to five years ago, but because the state entered into financial troubles, the project was put off.
“I think our front door right now where our tax revenues come from is exit 312 and one other thing that I was not aware of is there is going to be some lighting at the new exit, so it would good to move down to 312 to get those people off safely,” said Fuquea.