Officials buy property north of base

Local government officials purchased another property along the northern fenceline of Robins Air Force Base this week. It was the third property in the area purchased this year.

The latest property is on Saint Clara Drive, a few hundred meters from the border of Bibb and Houston counties.

The purchase was made by the Central Georgia Joint Development Authority, which helps coordinate development across Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Monroe and Twiggs counties.

More property purchases may be forthcoming if money to finance the transactions becomes available.

“There are no more funds available,” said Kevin Brown, an attorney with the Central Georgia Joint Development Authority. “We have funding that has been guaranteed by the Department of Defense, but we just have not gotten the funding,”

The authority had envisioned buying as many as a dozen properties by the end of the year. Brown said if the funding arrives, “it still may be possible to do that.”

That will require a treasure chest approaching $1 million, according to estimates provided last summer.

“The proposal has always been, as far as the funds have been awarded, the acquisitions would take place,” said Laura Mathis of the Middle Georgia Regional Development Center, which also has been involved with the purchases. Local officials have not had a problem finding willing sellers, Brown insists. “People have lined up who want to sell their properties,” he said.

Officials are looking to clear the area north of Robins to save the installation from the Department of Defense’s next round of base closures.

With the base airfield located on the northern half of the base, state and local authorities have expressed concern about noise pollution and whether the homes in the area could obstruct planes landing at the base.

In 1994, 30 parcels in the area were purchased with $1.5 million in state funds.

The area now belongs to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.