By Richard Banton

The newest industrial site in Barrow County is under development after gaining approval as a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) project. These sites take advantage of tax credits and help prospective businesses get to market earlier and provide jobs, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

Barrow County currently has three GRAD sites located along Georgia Highway 316 and the third site will be in this proximity near the intersection of Hog Mountain that take up more than 600 acres.

For a map of the locations in Barrow County, click here and zoom in on Winder.

For a statewide map of all GRAD sites, click here.

Georgia Allies, a partnership between the state government and private businesses, assigns project managers to locations that meet these criteria:

  • The GRAD site must be at least 50 acres.
  • Proof of ownership by a community or economic development group needs to be secured or terms of a sale need to be established.
  • An industrial zoning designation is required. If zoning regulations don’t exist, an alternative method to securing legal protection to build must be secured.
  • A local railroad company needs to outline how it will supply track to candidate site.
  • Proof of collaboration with road engineers and the Georgia Department of Transportation to make necessary adjustments to roads and highways.
  • A detailed statement must be provided explaining all existing utilities.
  • A statement describing nearby streams and wetlands that may be affected by construction.
  • A detailed survey of local features including nearby towns and structures.
  • An investigative survey of project site’s natural materials and properties.
  • A test must specify area’s environmental sustainability, including past and present air quality and proximity to protected areas such as national and state parks and forests.
  • A resources and endangered species investigation must be conducted.

Residents expecting to find fast results, however, might need to wait a little longer. The process takes years and the promise of securing businesses to purchase and begin investment  is not certain, but Georgia Economic Development Senior Advisor Charlie Gatlin said he believes Georgia’s unique program makes it at least more regionally competitive by shouldering the costs and time needed for businesses to develop and locate.

Barrow County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Jennings is patient and hopeful about the latest GRAD site in Barrow.

“Everything needs to fit together,” Jennings said.



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