DevelopmentAuthority dissolves, Midville makes large purchase

The City of Midville voted to assume responsibility for economic growth in its downtown area after the Midville Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) decided to dissolve.

MIDC Treasurer Glen Saxon, 88, said he has personally been overseeing nine buildings for the last decade. Aging members decided it was time to sell. In response, the City Council elected to purchase the nine buildings and 31.85 acres of land from the MIDC. They will be looking at finding some grants to assist with renovations, including the addition of air conditioning to four buildings, according to Mayor Wallace Lemons.

“The City of Midville will take possession of the buildings June 1,” the mayor said. “We have paid for the buildings already.”

Current tenants can expect a few changes, including an increase in rent as renovations are completed and insurance policies are purchased. Lemons said the city hopes to attract new businesses to its downtown area and is looking to adopt a policy that discourages their stagnant use.

“In the past, people have rented them and used them for storage,” Lemons stated. “We do not want that. We are going to end that when we take possession June 1. We want active businesses in those buildings. If you rent a building from us, we want it up-and-running within 90 days.”

The land that was purchased includes a pecan orchard and is the former site of the Ogeechee River Redbreast Festival that ran from 1984-2008. The festival was known for the well-known musicians who performed including, Hank Williams Jr., Ty Herndon and Rhett Akins. The

Development authority rented out the land for the annual festival.

However, in the future the parcel might remedy a topic often brought up by citizens during monthly council meetings.

“We would like to look at adding a parking lot for 18-wheelers,” said Lemons. “We don’t have any place for big trucks to park.”

Saxon said the MIDC was established around 1972 with 40 members and held a nonprofit status. It was started after John Cowart wanted to open an iron works business in Midville, but needed a matching grant.

“The corporation was formed in order to support his efforts,” Saxon said.

Today, six members remain. The youngest member is in his 70s. The MIDC is discussing the possibility of donating the funds from the sale to charity.

“I think it will be a good arrangement,” Lemons said of the city assuming ownership of the properties. “I think the tenants will enjoy renting from the City of Midville. We would like to see Downtown Midville grow.”

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