“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” -
Occasionally, we can become distracted by things that steer us away from our stated mission of helping students develop their individual strength of character and prepare for college. Our motivation is that our graduates need these foundational groundings so that they are prepared to live, work, and prosper beyond high school. But even that is not enough. There must be careers available for them. This requires systemic and continuous investments in our community.
At a June 18 Called Board meeting, Board members unanimously approved a 15-year tax abatement for what was an unnamed company considering plans to begin construction here in Bibb County. This action was the next step in what will be a substantial investment here in Macon! The project, announced June 25 as a distribution center for Tractor Supply Company, will bring hundreds of jobs desperately needed in our area. It also grows a larger tax base through property and sales taxes, which directly benefits our schools. Additionally, we anticipate greater revenue streams generated through utility costs, transportation utilization, and other companies locating here to do business with the company identified prior to Monday’s announcement as “Project Sun.” The Tractor Supply Company is expected to bring with it sizeable, immediate, and sustained long-term economic stimulus to the Macon-Bibb County area.
As this development becomes a reality, partners of the project estimate the economic impact should be approximately 400 new jobs during the construction of the nearly one million square foot facility. Ultimately the distribution center will support about 140 new, permanent jobs. This effort is anticipated to generate approximately $70 million in new money to our county over the next 15 years. Even better: We are told these are conservative estimates!
I am thrilled to be able to share the positive things developing that make our county more productive as well as more attractive to other industries considering investments here. I applaud the tireless efforts of Mr. Cliffard Whitby, Chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority; Mayor Robert Reichert; Dr. Greg George, director of Macon State College’s Center for Economic Analysis; and the many others critical to making “Project Sun” a reality.
This success story is another shining example of the type of investments possible within our community as we work together. We enthusiastically celebrate possibilities like “Project Sun” locating to Macon-Bibb County that puts people to work and grows our tax base. More importantly, this creates a more optimistic outlook for residents of Bibb County. I appreciatively applaud the determined work and optimistic vision of everyone involved in this endeavor. “Project Sun” can be a guiding light for other investors to follow.
This announcement represents a substantial investment on the part of both the Tractor Supply Company and our community. Our future is indeed brighter because of ventures like “Project Sun” that serve to add local jobs so our graduates have more career opportunities awaiting them after high school.