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Stankiewicz talks about 2018 accomplishments, looks forward to 2019

The City of Hogansville may be small, but you’d never know it based on the amount of news that took place there in 2018.

In 2018, Hogansville adopted a downtown masterplan for its revitalization and elected for the Royal Theatre to be remade into a community theater. Eventually, City Hall will move to the empty PNC bank building, which was a gift from the Hogansville Charitable Trust. 

Stankiewicz said the city’s biggest accomplishment of the year was developing and accepting plans to move City Hall into the PNC building and renovating the Royal Theatre as a community space.

“We’re convinced that the Royal Theatre will be a focal point for downtown,” Stankiewicz said. “We’ll foster the development of downtown. We think it will attract restaurants and business to the downtown area, and it’s critically important to the revitalization of the city. There’s no question about that.”

Stankiewicz said the city received a Fox Foundation grant to pay 50 percent for architects to study the theater for potential uses. Stankiewicz said he wants the theater to be completed by September 2020, which is the city’s sesquicentennial anniversary. 

“It won’t be an 800-feet movie theatre like it was when it was built,” Stankiewicz said. “We’re looking in terms of 250-300 seats, multi-use live performances. The screen will still be there. We anticipate movies being screened. There will be rehearsal rooms and for other uses as a center for performing arts. We’re really excited. It’s going to be an expensive project, and we hope to begin that in 2019.”

Stankiewicz said the biggest challenge for the city was making “big political decisions.”

“I think it was courageous on the part of the council to make the decisions that they made in terms of moving city hall and restoring the theatre,” Stankiewicz said. “It’s a lot of money. It’s a risk, and it would have been very easy to stand back. I believe the challenge was to address the issues head-on and make the right decisions for the city going forward.”

Stankiewicz said on Jan. 7, 2019, the Hogansville City Council will be deciding on one of several designs for City Hall when it’s moved to the PNC building

In 2018, Stankiewicz said they completed FEMA projects, including replacing the Elm Street bridge. In housing, the city approved a 182-house development and had the developer buy two bankrupt developments and began to construct residences there.

“It’s important to note none of this would have been accomplished without the hard work and cooperation of the council who had to make some tough political decisions, and I give them credit for that,” Stankiewicz said. “And, of course, our City Manager David Milliron really deserves a lot of the credit. His leadership and his knowledge helped us through some of the rough spots.”

The city also started construction for its new wastewater treatment plant, which is also co-funded and goes into Meriwether County.

Plans for 2019 also include finishing the renovations for Lake Jimmy Jackson, which broke ground this year, and completing the tower trail that will connect to downtown.

“We’ve just recently place restrooms there which was sorely needed for the trail and the amphitheater,” Stankiewicz said. 

In 2018, Hogansville also had an episode of “The Walking Dead” film in downtown, which brought fans from all over the area. 

“I think [the filming] was great fun, and I think it’s going to be great for the city,” Stankiewicz said. “I don’t want to hang my hat too much on that. I don’t think we’ll ever become Senoia. I don’t think we want to become Senoia.”