Stankiewicz looks ahead to 2018 in Hogansville

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The year 2017 is over, and everyone is looking forward to the promise of what’s to come in 2018.

Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz expects this year to be a busy one in his city. Later this month, Hogansville will hold a meeting at the Hogansville Public Library to unveil plans for developing downtown and for the Royal Theater, which currently houses city hall.

“The downtown development authority hired The Georgia Conservancy to conduct a downtown development plan,” Stankiewicz said. “At the same time, we the city hired two architects to do a plan on the refurbishing of the Royal Theatre. We’re kind of putting both of those pieces together since obviously the theatre’s downtown.”

At that meeting, reports will be presented along with a potential rehab project for the theatre. The city was recently awarded a grant from the Fox Theatre Institute that paid for half the architectural fees for a plan for the Royal Theater.

“In fact, [the institute] encouraged us to apply for one of their grants of up to $500,000 for when we actually start the work,” he said.

The mayor said he would prefer for the city hall to move into the old PNC building this year, but that’s far from a given. Others prefer other uses for the theater.

“We’re not without some controversy. Several of us would love to buy the old PNC bank building,” he said. “We’d like to buy it for the city as a potential site for city hall. There is not universal agreement on that plan.”

Stankiewicz said the city is still working on plans for a recreation center for Lake Jimmy Jackson. One of struggles with that plan has been the cost of restrooms and a concession stand, he said. The city rejected all bids received for that project in November.

“We received bids on the first phase of developing it and unfortunately the bids came in high and so we have gone back to the drawing board. We’ve rejected the bids and we’re looking at ways to bringing it in at a more reasonable cost,” Stankiewicz said. “We’re downsizing that piece of the project, and that will allow us to complete the rest of the recreational part of it as planned. And we’re going to rebid that probably in January. We expect construction to start in the spring and with a mid-summer completion date.”

The city is looking for growth this year to curb its debt, according to the mayor.

“I believe that the way Hogansville will solve its debt issues, which it has a lot of outstanding debt, is to grow,” Stankiewicz said. “We will never pay off the debt by staying a city of 3,100 people and fighting the debt burden. We have to grow to do that.”

A development of 182 houses in the works, Stankiewicz said.

“The rezoning has been approved,” he said. “And 182 homes for Hogansville, since we have approximately 1,100 rooftops now, [they] represent a significant increase in the size of the city. What we really hope for is growth.”

The mayor said the biggest takeaway of 2017 for him was hiring David Milliron as city manager.

“I’m pleased with his professionalism and his knowledge,” he said “I think he’s a leader that will be in a position to move the city forward and manage our growth.”

Stankiewicz said they city is excited for changes happening in downtown Hogansville.

“We’re looking forward to the growth plan that the Georgia Conservancy is doing, and we’ve had [Karvelas Pizza Company] move downtown,” he said. “We’re excited about the work that’s being done at the (train) depot by [Pioneer]. They’re a group of young folk who are doing great things for the city for the downtown, and they’re expanding. They bought another building adjacent to the depot and they’re looking to expand into that building.”