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 This week's Journal
 This week's Journal


A part of the governor's developmental highway system, Hwy. 72, is being rebuilt as a four-lane, high volume highway that will eventually reach from Athens to Clinton, South Carolina. Currently, workers are building the section from U.S. 29 in Clarke County to the Bowman Road east of Colbert.
Photos by Frank Gillispie


Building Madison County
A number of construction projects in full swing
Ready or not, here comes the growth in Madison County. Construction workers are busy building schools, businesses, infrastructure and new homes.
Most noticeable is the reconstruction of Hwy. 72 along the southern edge of the county. A part of the governor's developmental highway system, Hwy. 72, is being rebuilt as a four-lane, high volume highway that will eventually reach from Athens to Clinton, South Carolina. Currently, workers are building the section from U.S. 29 in Clarke County to the Bowman Road east of Colbert. This project will require two years to complete. Drivers are warned to watch for detours as traffic is switched from side to side during construction.
The most dramatic expansion is taking place in the Dogsboro area. Now nearing completion are a county water system, a new elementary school and the largest Ingles market in Georgia.
The new Hull/Sanford Elementary School, located at the intersection of the Ila Road and the Fortson Store Road, will be completed this summer and is expected to open its doors to 500 or more students this fall.
Behind the new school, a commercial well and a 300,000 gallon water tank is nearing completion. Work will begin shortly on a 6,000 foot water main to the Dogsboro intersection. It will provide water for the new school and the new Ingles store. The first phase of the water system is scheduled for completion in April.
Nearing completion is the new Ingles market, being built adjacent to the current store. Measuring 200 by 324 feet, it will be nearly twice the size of the present building. Once the new store opens in April, the old building will be renovated to house two or more new retail outlets.
The highway is not the only thing being built in the Hwy. 72 corridor. Reilly's Video in Hull has been doubled in size and a second floor added which houses four office suites. The building is complete and ready for occupancy
A new restaurant just opened between Colbert and Hull. Crossroads Cafe and Gift Shop, owned by Shirley Scogin, is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Work on the parking lot and entrance drives cannot be completed until the highway construction is finished.
In Comer, the first Madison County Habitat for Humanity home is well underway. Volunteers work each weekend to finish the home, which is located on the east side of Comer.
The expansion includes county facilities. A $10,000 state grant will be used to rebuild the well house at MADICO Industrial Park. A $100,000 project to replace the roof on the old courthouse is complete and plans are underway for additional renovations. A new home for Fine Finish, the county's mental health facility, is nearing completion off Hwy. 98 and site work is underway in the same area for a new modern jail.
New announcements are expected in coming months. The recent rezoning of over 100 acres in the Dogsboro area from agriculture to commercial indicates intent to take advantage of the new water system for even more retail outlets and offices. The addition of a sewer system for the Hull/Dogsboro area is in the early planning stage. New plans for subdivisions are filed with the planning and zoning department on a regular basis. The Georgia Department of Transportation is developing plans to make Hwy. 29 four lanes from Dogsboro to Danielsville, and additional passing lanes are scheduled for Hwy. 106.
Madison County is next in line for the eastern expansion of the Atlanta Metropolitan area. The current building boom appears only a forerunner of things to come.

All mapped out:
Officials say a new Madison County Geographical Information System (GIS) is a solid step into the information age, a computer link between county departments on all parcels of land in the county.
And plans are to put the system on the Internet, making information about county properties easily accessible to the public.
"That's one to two years away," said Chuck Anglin, Madison County's chief tax appraiser, who is in charge of implementing the system.
With the click of the mouse, county officials will be able to call up maps and see every parcel of land in the county. They can continue clicking and see where county wetlands are, where roads are located, how much water each parcel has, the typography of the land, the zoning of the tract, the name and address of the parcel owner.
They will be able to create buffers around a parcel on the computer screen to see how far a chicken house or a proposed plant may be from a home. They'll be able to call up aerial photos of properties.
Anglin said assessing property values will be made simpler and county growth will be more easily monitored through the system, providing clearer pictures of land sales patterns.
"This helps me say this area is selling for (x amount) and this for (y amount)," said Anglin, a Persian Gulf War veteran.
The GIS system is expected to eliminate $10,000 per year spent on updating county tax maps. The paper maps are somewhat out of date by the time they are put in use by the county, with the most recent zoning actions often left off county maps for months. The computer system will allow those maps to be updated as changes happen.
County commission chairman Wesley Nash is excited about the system, noting that every department concerned with a piece of land will be linked. For example, when a parcel is rezoned to residential status, the computer system will notify 911 of a possible new address to add to its data base.
The new system is being installed at little cost to county taxpayers.
The $22,000 ARC/INFO software for the GIS system was acquired by the county with grant money, meaning the county paid nothing. Anglin received a pay increase of approximately $3,000 per year to oversee the system.
The appraiser, who has had no formal training on the system, allowed that it may take some time to get the network running smoothly.
"I'm learning as I go," Anglin said.


Candidates considered for DFACS board
Two vacancies may soon be filled on the Madison County Department of Family and Children Services board.
DFACS county director Rick Chamberlin told the board at Monday night's regular meeting that he and board chairman Anne Stone had discussed the vacancies with county commission chairman Wesley Nash.
Two people were discussed as possible replacements for Frank Carithers, who is deceased and Jo Scott, who resigned last year. Chamberlin said those people have been contacted and have agreed to serve on the board.
Nash is scheduled to seek final approval by the board of commissioners at its next meeting on Feb. 28. The two new members will most likely attend the board meeting in March.
In a separate matter, Chamberlin told the board that the state DFACS office is not in favor of a current bill before the state legislature known as HB 1604. Chamberlin said one component of the bill seeks to change the current method of selecting county directors, primarily by removing the county board's role in the process.
The board also approved the following expenditures Monday: the replacement purchase of a television/VCR combo for the DFACS lobby that is used to play educational videos throughout the day, a new fax machine and legislative training for Chamberlin in Atlanta.
In other business, the board learned that Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) applications jumped from 19 in December to 43 in January. Chamberlin said he believes this was due to "job-related developments" such as lay-offs from Christmas employment. The next DFACS board meeting is scheduled for Moday., March 20, at 5:30 p.m.
Chamberlin also told the group that he is having difficulty contacting any of former board member Frank Carither's family. Mr. Carithers passed away a few months ago and the board wants to have a recognition ceremony to honor his years of service on the DFACS board.

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