Letter: Northwest connector deal is cause for concern

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 16, 2016


Concerned homeowners along Country Club Drive have ample concern and are justified in hiring counsel to investigate just how this northwest connector deal transpired. Reading between the lines, a closely guarded partnership was formed between a few public and private entities and a deal was struck for the fiscal benefit of certain landowners and real-estate developers.

Be assured, this proposed road has little to do about public benefit — alleviating traffic flow — and all to do with the eventual building of high demographic homes and subdivisions along its length.

If the city was serious about leveraging road-building SPLOST funds to benefit our citizens, then a project to open up the tract of land behind Home Depot along Lafayette Parkway merits serious discussion. This tract of underdeveloped land is surrounded by our best hotels, restaurants and shopping destinations along with ample frontage on I-85.

A connector to link Hoffman Drive to Cotton Road and then on over to the South Davis Road bypass has been in the planning stages for years. I can speak for most, if not all, of the concerned property owners behind the Home Depot and state, without qualification, that the right of way needed for this proposed road can and will be most assuredly “donated” as well.

This true connector will provide a sorely needed alternative route around the increasingly busy intersection at Lafayette Parkway and Davis. Additionally, retail development would spring up in these infill lots: quality retail development that has been especially lacking in our community for decades.

This new retail development should logically locate to where the action is: across from the mall. The land for this road is level and mostly cleared. It represents 25 percent the length of the proposed Northwest Connector and thus 25 percent the cost, yet would yield a substantially increased return on investment.

The short- and long term-payoff of the Hoffman Drive extension to the city of LaGrange and the Lafayette Parkway corridor is potentially enormous.

When public money is used to leverage private interests, public interests must take center stage; otherwise, poor stewardship of tax resources becomes glaringly evident.

Bill Wooten, Cotton Road landowner