The attendance was certainly "refreshing" at the Tuesday, October 17, 2023, Glennville Industrial Development Authority (IDA) meeting at Glennville City Hall, since the crowd attending was not there for a personal request or gripe but rather to hear what is planned for Glennville and its future with the nearby Bryan County industrial buildup. The comments were encouraging and positive, with several voicing their concerns that they did not want to see Glennville become another Hinesville, with its traffic and congestion.
"Many of us live here by choice since we like the small town living and pace," said one local citizen.
Even though a request was made for a neighborhood Walmart and a more spacious grocery store, general acknowledgment was the need to continue to patronize the local merchants.
A comment was added that the local B&T's Fresh Market has hired a new manager, and he was making significant positive changes in the store the past several months, which several citizens acknowledged. Also, it was pointed out that the condition of the store building was in need of repairs and significant updates. This was one of the reasons that a major chain grocer was not interested in locating in Glennville, and why Reidsville's location was more acceptable for Food Lion.
Earlier in the meeting, a letter was read from Glennville Mayor Bernie Weaver to the Industrial Development Authority requesting the entity to explore the opportunities available for enhanced grocery shopping options in Glennville. He stated in the letter that his request arose from feedback from the public regarding this issue. In his letter, he requested "that the Authority take action to explore what legal options are available, if any, for the Authority to address this perceived need of our community."
"We need to patronize our local restaurants, too, since we have had good restaurants forced to close because we have not supported them," said IDA member Joe Skeens. He added that we often go out of town to eat at a restaurant when we have one in Glennville that is comparable or better.
Another citizen added that the prices at The Supply Company for floor covering were found to be lower than the same product at Lowe's and that the same service locally is not provided at the bigger out-of-town retailers.
Another commented on the lack of entertainment and the lack of transportation, the latter that is often needed by an aging population. Just recently, a local taxi service has been provided in the Glennville area, Mutch Taxi Service (912-237-8174), and he has been called on several times in just his first few weeks of operation.
The general consensus was an interest in growth, but one that is managed and controlled so that Glennville can still maintain its small-town atmosphere, and not one of a "city" with its traffic and congestion.
Shop local, stay local was an emphasis, and the right kind of growth can be achieved was a general consensus.
"We like our community environment. We live here because we don't want to live anywhere else," said one citizen.
This was the first time many of those attending had ever visited an IDA meeting. The quarterly dates were set as follows for the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. in 2024, at City Hall: January 9, April 9, July 9, and October 8.
Glennville IDA members in attendance included Chairman Derek Bland, Secretary/
Treasurer Chuck Ray (elected by IDA members at the October 17 meeting), Joe Skeens, Reba King Feliciano, and Justin McLeod, with Dylan Mulligan as IDA attorney. IDA members absent were Bran Thompson and Kerry Wingate.
Local citizens who attended the meeting include Donna Blocker, Glennville Chamber Director Shellie Smith, council member Marc Nobles, Suzannah Beasley Williamson, Jimmie Cain, Shanna Bradford, Ajani Abdul-Khaliq, Lisa Barry, Carol Watters, Zuber Malek, and Zach Allen. (However, just as interested citizens, Shanna and Ajani, who moved to Glennville just a few years ago, regularly attend the city council meetings and other local government meetings.)