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Fairview prepares for major projects

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  The Fairview area of Henry County is going to look completely different in a few years with the help of two major construction projects. The widening of Fair-view Road and the creation of a Fairview medical center will bring jobs, commerce and closer healthcare to the growing region.

  District 5 Commissioner Bruce Holmes envisioned a new identity for Fairview when he first ran for office. This part of the county is removed from major medical centers, creating a need for a higher quality of life for its residents. Holmes said the idea came to him when his neighbor needed major medical attention due to a blood clot complication from surgery, and he couldn’t receive help in time.

District 5 Commissioner addresses an audience of over 250 people at the groundbreaking ceremony for two projects set to begin in the Fairview area of Henry County.
                                                           Photo by Alex Welch

  “The biggest thing that led me to believe that there was a great need for healthcare in our community was my neighbor dying next door, and he died because the ambulance took too long,” said Holmes. “It took about 20-30 minutes for the ambulance to get there. I couldn’t get in the door. His wife wasn’t home.”

  The delay resulted in his neighbor passing away, and from that point on, Holmes said he wanted to ensure his community would not have to face similar situations anymore.

  “It was part of my platform when I got elected. Basically, I wanted to improve healthcare in our community. I felt we were underserved,” said Holmes.

  After he was elected, Holmes collected the demographics of his district and brought them to Bob White, Executive Director of the Henry County Development Authority. Holmes said he sat down with White to discuss his idea, and afterwards he began contacting several healthcare institutions about the possibility of building a medical center in Fairview. Exigence, a company now under the management of Nidus Development, decided to purchase the land in northern Henry County in their process of creating four new medical centers around the nation, according to Holmes. According to figures on Nidus’ official website, Henry County ranked among the top 10 in fastest growing counties in the U.S. in the 2010 census. The county now has over 200,000 residents. Holmes said the company was excited about the location and potential in Fairview.

  But medical care will not be the only benefit from the new development. Nidus is also building 80,000 square feet of retail space. According to Holmes, Fairview residents are forced to look to other counties for restaurants and shopping centers.

  “Currently, people have to go to DeKalb, to Fulton County to shop, to dine. There’s definitely a need for more commerce, restaurants and other types of industry in this area,” said Holmes. “They want to make it a destination, with high-end restaurants along the lines of P.F. Chang’s.”

  But in order to accommodate the increase in traffic, Holmes developed a project to widen Fairview Road as well. All the funding for the road construction comes from SPLOST III funds. Holmes’ initial plans needed to be amended, though.

  “In the plan, the goal was to widen all of Fairview (Road), but when I got elected, they told me I didn’t have enough money. So I began to analyze the project, the length of the road,” said Holmes. “Basically, I shortened the road. I added beautification, I added the stamped concrete and the new lighting, and we looked at the numbers and it fit.”

  Instead of addressing the entire stretch, the project will widen 1.85 miles of Fairview Road from Anvil Block Road to the recently realigned intersection with Panola Road. There will be signalized intersections with decorative stamped concrete crosswalks, mast arm signal poles and lighted street signs. Overall, the cost of the project is set to cost over $13 million.

  A new medical and retail center provides an influx of visitors to Henry County, and it also helps spur the local economy. Holmes said Nidus came up with promising numbers for the community.

  “In their economic impact study, they project 1,300 jobs. In terms of the amount of capital they’re going to infuse in our economy, we’re looking at upwards of $180 million,” said Holmes. “We wanted to establish Fairview as more of a village-type destination, a place people will wake up and say ‘Let’s go there and shop.’ That location is pretty much on the line of DeKalb, Clayton and Rockdale. So instead of us going out shopping in those communities, they’ll be coming here.”

  Holmes said Nidus is still working on locating a healthcare anchor for the facilities. Once that process is complete, the focus will shift towards the restaurant and retail aspect, according to Holmes.

  Angela Thomas, co-owner of Sports Zone on Panola Road, sees several positives to the additions Nidus will construct.

  “It will hopefully increase property values, just because you’re bringing more businesses to that area. The local businesses in that area will have new faces,” said Thomas. “The medical center will be good. You don’t have to go as far. Now you have something right there at your doorstep that makes things a lot easier.”

  Thomas isn’t the only one who is ready for change. Over 250 people showed up to the groundbreaking ceremony for the two Fairview projects on Wednesday, June 26. Holmes and White both addressed the public about the upcoming developments, each expressing their excitement to see the change take place.

  “In a few months, you won’t recognize this place,” said White. “Welcome to the new Fairview. Maybe we’ll call it Fairview 2.0.” 

  An overlay district is also being used to ensure certain expectations are met from business owners in the new area. The county hired The Collaborative Firm to run the district, and they will set standards and help maintain specific aesthetics and guidelines for buildings and any new construction, according to Holmes.

  Plans are also in the works to construct a splash park, running/walking trails, soccer fields, volleyball courts and a park across the street from the medical center. Holmes said this project is on District 5’s list for SPLOST IV. Holmes wants the entire area to be a “health and wellness community.” Concession stands will not be built in this new park, which will help the retail stores nearby, according to Holmes.

  While the ground has just been broken for the two Fairview projects, it won’t be long before the area starts to gain a new look.

  “Everything is funded. Everything is in the works. The community in 2-3 years will be truly be a gateway into Henry County,” said Holmes.

 

 

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