Jefferson leaders are frustrated with the lack of commercial development in the city and used a portion of its six-hour retreat last Wednesday to voice that dissatisfaction.
The consensus among the council is that the city is continually passed over when businesses look to locate in the area, which drives Jefferson residents out of the city limits to spend money.
“Of course, the joke is you can’t buy a pair of underwear in Jefferson,” councilman Mark Mobley said. “I don’t know why people choose not to build here.”
Councilman Malcolm Gramley pointed to the commercial development in nearby cities like Commerce and Braselton.
“We’re the county seat for crying out loud, and we don’t have development,” Gramley said.
Gramley said he would like to see a plan to build parallel roadways along the Jefferson Hwy. 129 bypass to entice commercial development.
“We’ve got to incentivize the availability of property, and what have you, for commercial development in town,” he said. “If that means building a parallel road, maybe that’s what it means. I don’t know.”
City manager Jon Herschell said there is interest from developers in a site on Hwy. 129 opposite from Kroger.
“The main problem, though, is (Hwy.) 129 is not our jurisdiction … and I think it will be hard to get another intersection on 129,” Herschell said.
“There’s a lot of interest here,” Herschell added. “It’s not that there’s not interest here. It’s just that there’s some things that, some roadblocks. Commercial developers, when they come to a roadblock, they just stop. They go somewhere else.”
Councilman Steve Quinn is more interested in developing the corners of the bypass and the property along old Hwy. 129 and Hwy. 11.
For the full story, see the Feb. 17 issue of The Jackson Herald.