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Growth, changes coming as new year draws nigh

By Walter Geiger With a booming American economy that has filtered down to the local level, growth, change and some new projects will be coming to fruition in Barnesville-Lamar County during the coming new year. On the industrial front, major expansions are expected at two existing local industries and at least two new industries will open or make great strides toward opening in 2019. Continental Tire is nearing the end of an expansion of its tire cord manufacturing operations at Aldora Mills. The company has spent over $9 million on new equipment and improvements and expects to add 109 jobs this year. Employees at a plant in Porterdale, which the company is closing, have been offered some of those positions but many will be filled by new hires from the community. Any sort of growth in the textile industry is a rarity in this day and time. Continental Tire credits the local expansion to the stability and reliability of the local workforce. Jordan Forest Products is also moving toward serious expansion and reportedly hopes to acquire more land, including the abandoned Rivera Parts building across Grove Street from the current plant. That building once houses Meeks Firewood Co. and By the Yard. There is talk of closing Grove Street in that area which will shift all access to the industrial park along the newly reinforced and refurbished Industrial Road. Additionally, the City of Barnesville is still striving to relocate remains from the old Wadsworth Cemetery at the Railway Meadow industrial site. The city says it has an industrial prospect that wishes to build a 500,000 square foot building on the site. That is thought to be a forest industries prospect as well but that information has not been confirmed. There are at least two new industries on the way. Attis Industries is in the process of finalizing the financing for a $50 million operation that will be located on Roger Brown Drive in the industrial park on a 32-acre site that was once home to the defunct and often odorous Greenco recycling facility. Attis hopes to break ground in early 2019 and be operational within a year. They company expects to create 100 new jobs and generate $35 million in annual revenue. The local operation that will use patented technology to convert wood chips into high value products for use in construction, plastics extrusion and other areas. Additionally, Top Form Industrial is busily refurbishing and painting the community’s original speculative industrial building at the corner of Grove Street and Veterans Parkway and will make it its headquarters. Top Form was founded over 20 years ago and specializes in the installation of back-up generators for retail, industrial, hospital and military operations. On the retail/commercial front, entrepreneur Jason Governo plans to move his Farm Supply operation from the old Carter’s complex off Carleeta Street to a site just north of the Top Form building on Veterans Parkway. The Barnesville city council rezoned 3.84 acres now owned by Persons Banking Company from industrial to highway commercial last week. Governo plans to acquire the land and build a facility for his business there. Permits are expected to be finalized today for the construction of a new Dollar General store on land developers have acquired from Tripp Bankston on College Drive. The store will be built next to the office of Dr. Gerald Cauthen where site prep has begun. DG has been looking for a new location here for some time. Though no permits for the work have been issued, demolition of the old B&L convenience store at the corner of Taylor Street and College Drive is expected soon Though nothing is official, that site is thought to be targeted for a fast food outlet with Burger King being the most likely tenant. Burger King has also been fervently looking for a local site over the past year or so.

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