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'It gives it a different look': Warner Robins city center project may start this summer

The city's development director Kate Hogan, right now, says they are completing what they call due diligence.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Some Warner Robins people are looking forward to a new city's downtown. The city says they plan to start the next phase of the city center project this summer.

In about six months, you may see physical changes in the Commercial Circle area. That's located at South Davis Drive and Watson Boulevard, near the base.

The idea of a new Warner Robins downtown has been on some people's minds for a while.

"I think that would be a great place to actually have a little more time sit-down restaurants," Myers said.

Linda Myers works at Robins Air Force Base. She says they need nearby lunch options for business meetings.  

"Just having something quick to get to and from work and having that lunch space is nice. Because a lot of people do come here, but we have to get back to that base. Since Martin's closed, we don't really have a place to take them that's nearby and can get back to the base quickly. As far as family and date night, that would be nice. It would be nice to have a place to go and walk around," Myers said.

In August, mayor and council agreed to buy about six acres on Commercial Circle for about $1.6 million. In October, they agreed to buy an additional lot, less than half an acre, for $250,000. The city's Community and Economic Development Director, Kate Hogan, say, now, they are completing what they call due diligence. She says this includes the "environmental review of the property."

"Let the process take however long it needs to take," Travis said.

Jakeisia Travis says new places with attracting young adults.

"Because a lot of times we have to travel to go to the places we really want to go to as far as Atlanta, and just being able to go up the street and explore different options. It gives it a different look, more of a city look," Travis said.

Treci Boyington also likes the idea. He says it's going to attract more college-aged students.

"It's better because everything on this side is crowded. Everything is together. So, you put it over there, you get more space and probably move more people from here to over there. It'll give you more options and space to move people from here to there. I would like to see what they are going to put down here and what new things they might have for people to do and go to," Boyington said.

"I know we are all returning back to work, so traffic is a little heavy, but having something quick and easy to get to would be nice, and having a little bit more of a nightlife would be great," Myers said.

Others said they'd be interested if there were a bar-styled restaurant or even food trucks.

Hogan says at the end of the due diligence period; they'll remove buildings and work with developers to build the center. 

Hogan also says buildings in the city center will be removed if they are structurally unsound and not historically significant. 

They are still working to identify those structures. Hogan says the city hopes to begin that phase this summer.

Here is a copy of Kate Hogan's full statement: 

"The City is taking our steps towards creating a town center very seriously. We are ensuring we are good stewards of tax payer dollars by completing an extensive due diligence period. This includes environmental reviews of the property. At the conclusion of this review we will be able to proceed with actually removing buildings and working with developers to bring new opportunities into the City Center. Ideally, we will be beginning this phase of the project in Summer 2023."

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick also provided 13WMAZ with a statement:

"It has been a priority for my administration to create a city center where our community can come together, celebrate, eat, shop and increase our quality of life. The great people of Warner Robins have entrusted me to properly care for and vet any project that uses taxpayer dollars and this extended due diligence is doing just that!  I look forward to finally making this a reality for our community."

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