7. Highway 84 Overpass.
Work began and continues on the West Hill Avenue/Highway 84 Overpass. The work has slowed traffic along the east-west route for several months. Motorists are advised to continue being aware of ongoing construction. Because of limited maneuverability, large trucks should avoid West Hill Avenue completely.
Last week, the Georgia Department of Transportation noted the work is progressing faster than expected — 20 percent ahead of schedule.
The completion date was set for Dec. 31, 2014, a year from now.
“The project is expected to be completed before the current completion date of Dec. 31, 2014 and should not need an extension for project time,” Brian Starling, assistant area engineer for Valdosta’s GDOT, said recently. “If unexpected circumstances arise warranting a time extension, such as excessive amounts of inclement weather, unforeseen need for extra work, etc., then the need to extend the project time could become a possibility; but that is unlikely to occur at this stage of the project.”
8. SPLOST passes.
Despite being defeated in the 2012 election, Valdosta and Lowndes County officials placed SPLOST VII on the 2013 ballot.
In 2012, SPLOST VII would have been used for a library and faced vocal opposition. In 2013, the special purpose local option sales tax was designated to fund infrastructure issues such as the city’s waster water treatment plant; it still faced opposition but nothing like the previous year’s anti-SPLOST sentiment.
Come the November election, SPLOST VII passed by about a 70-30 ratio of the registered voters casting ballots. With its passing, the 1 percent sales tax continues today and for the next six years.
9. Remerton Mill torn down.
Both sides had arguments to make their respective cases in this story set in Remerton, a city within the city limits of Valdosta.
On the one side, some wished to save the old Strickland Mill building. After all, if not for the mill being established a hundred years ago, there would be no Remerton.
On the other side, the mill had been gated off and empty for years, with no plans for its renovation or use.
In the end, the mill came down this year. Its demolition means another piece of Remerton’s past has vanished. Another change in the evolution from a town that once sat in the shadow of a cotton mill but is now being swallowed by the expansion of the neighboring university.