Stankiewicz talks Hogansville accomplishments in 2020
During the year 2020, Hogansville saw new businesses open, projects begin and COVID-19 make its way through the city.
“We had a few obvious setbacks,” said Mayor Bill Stankiewicz, who recently overcome COVID-19. “Our biggest delay in anything was getting started on city hall. That had a domino effect of course on getting the Royal Theatre renovated.”
Renovations to the theater cannot begin until the city has completely moved city hall out of the building. In early December, the city announced it can move forward with renovations after being approved for a USDA loan. Stankiewicz said when they originally applied for the loan in May, the loan didn’t fit the city’s numbers, and they had to reapply.
The pandemic then delayed everything further.
“In terms of economic development, we’ve made some big strides in terms of residential development,” Stankiewicz said.
Multiple vacant commercial buildings in Hogansville were bought and filled, including the old Fred’s grocery store.
“We are also building apartments on Bass Cross Road and townhomes on William Street and Jones Crossing,” Stankiewicz said. “Two existing long term dormant developments are now being built out. They are selling them as fast as they can build them. In spite of COVID, we have had some definite positives.”
A plethora of new businesses also found a home on Main Street in downtown Hogansville.
“We still have a few vacancies, but that is to be expected,” Stankiewicz said. “So many of our old and new businesses are doing very well. Multiple of them have a loyal following.”
In 2019, the city council set a goal to have a new city manager by the summer. In June, they hired Jonathan Lynn the city’s new manager.
“I think Jonathan has done an incredible job and has become a part of the community here,” Stankiewicz said.
The year 2021 will begin year two of the five-year plan to upgrade the electrical system.
“We are making progress,” Stankiewicz said. “I think we’ve had a setback in terms of fiber internet. Comcast did not get the vote that they wanted out of the Public Service Commission, which was very disappointing. Comcast was about to make a substantial investment in their structure here.”
Stankiewicz said that it is critical the downtown businesses have fiber internet. Going into 2021, Stankiewicz is hopeful for more economic development.
“I think our residential development is going to help that,” Stankiewicz said. “It’s the kind of development I think that is going to help build our middle class, which is really what we need.”
Stankiewicz said the city is looking toward what’s ahead.
“We are looking forward to 2021 and leaving 2020 behind us,” Stankiewicz said.