WARNER ROBINS -- A water park along Interstate 75 could be one step closer to fruition after a council vote Monday evening to extend sewer to the area.
City Council voted 4-2 to extend sewer along Vietnam Veterans Memorial Parkway for $250,000. Mayor Chuck Shaheen and those who voted against the move said it was irresponsible since no plans have been seen, while two councilmen who voted for it said sewer extension was needed there anyway.
We have 1,300 or 1,400 acres of land out there thats prime for development, said Councilman Mike Daley. We dont have a river in Warner Robins, but we do have an interstate.
Councilmen Mike Brashear, Mike Davis and Paul Shealy voted with Daley in favor of the extension. Council members Carolyn Robbins and Daron Lee voted against it.
Im definitely for economic development in this city, and I think out there on the interstate is a wonderful, wonderful opportunity, Robbins said. But I cant vote for this because we havent seen any plans.
It appeared in precouncil that the sewer item would not come up in the regular council meeting. But after unanimous votes on every other action item, Brashear motioned for the sewer extension.
This is not how we conduct business, but OK, Shaheen said.
In an email that Shaheen forwarded to the media after the meeting, a city utilities engineer laid out the guidelines usually followed for utility requests. It includes a city worker surveying the land for feasibility and then determining a price point.
Brashear said after the meeting that Peach County officials have worked in detail with Jeff Franklin, the Atlanta developer who has said he would like to build a water park in Warner Robins.
In order for him to obtain a Small Business Administration loan, Franklin said he needs promises that sewer and roads will be extended to the undeveloped property. Brashear and Daley say the city already had planned to extend sewer there because a visitors center is planned to be built there.
But Robbins and Lee said they dont know exactly what the developer needs or how much it would cost the city.
It could be anywhere between a hundred and a million bucks, Shaheen said.
Also at the meeting, City Council tabled a vote to create a Historical Preservation Commission.