At Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Graceville City Commission, JCDC Director Bill Stanton made a presentation to the Commissioners regarding the potential economic development gains the Graceville-Campbellton area could realize from the routing of a Montgomery-Dothan-Panama City express toll road that would traverse north-south through Jackson County. Stanton announced that due to lack of support in Washington County, the project promoters have opted for the Jackson County route, even though it is twelve miles longer.
During a meeting last week, the Campbellton City Commissioners unanimously approved supporting the project after hearing a similar presentation given by Stanton. It is anticipated by Stanton that the new express route would include an interchange at the intersection of the road with Highway #2 between Graceville and Campbellton. Another exchange would be created as the road crossed I-10 somewhere west of Cottondale.
"In my opinion, this new interchange would create a wonderful opportunity for tremendous future development for these two communities", Stanton told the Commissioners. He explained that the connection of city water and sewage services to the interchange is the key for creating development. "That is why the Sneads and the Grand Ridge exchanges on I-10 have so little development and the Marianna exchange has flowered It is because of the delivery of these city services," Stanton emphasized.
"This project would be totally funded by private bond issues, and would not involve any investment or risk to the citizens of any community or Jackson County. "To me it is all plus and no negatives", Stanton explained.
The commissioners then unanimously voted support for the project. City Manager Eugene Adams voiced his amazement that the officials in Washington County had not moved aggressively to support the new road.
Bill Stanton plans to next solicit the endorsement of the communities of Cottondale and Alford, which would also benefit from their proximity to the new road. Then the presentation will be made to the Jackson County Commission for their endorsement before the completed documentation demonstrating total area support for the proposed road is forwarded to the promoters and planners who are working on the project.
"The project is from three to six years away at this time", Stanton responded when asked. "In total it will be a two billion dollar project, and things of this magnitude take time in formulation."