Baxter breaks ground
By Michael Prochaska
The road to Baxter International zigs and zags slightly for what seems to be an eternity with nothing but more asphalt on the horizon. The long, desolated drive ended abruptly Wednesday to a crowd of visitors walking in and out of a large, white tent and law enforcement directing traffic.
The emptiness of the newly named Baxter Parkway (formerly Stanton Springs Parkway) and the hundreds of acres surrounding the future industrial park is a thing of the past. Starting this month, construction crews will work day and night erecting what will become one of the most ambitious job-creating monoliths Georgia has seen in decades.
And Morgan County, one of the four counties of the Joint Development Authority (JDA) responsible for bringing Baxter to the region, will reap the benefits of 1,500 jobs and a median salary of $60,000 when the facility is fully operational as early as 2018.
The new era of economic growth in the region kicked off last week with a groundbreaking event that drew the likes of Governor Nathan Deal, Baxter CEO Bob Parkinson and leaders and elected officials of surrounding communities.
“This community could not have chosen a better new partner than Baxter, and we intend to prove that they could not have chosen a better community,” said Alan Verner, chairman of the JDA. “The pride that will be generated by the people who work here in this new facility will spread across the region and state and will make our community an even better place to live.”
Governor Deal described the occasion as a “a glorious day for the state of Georgia.”
“I told you that my goal was to make Georgia the number one place in the country to do business,” he said. “The affirmation of a premier company such as Baxter International gives me great confidence that if we continue to pursue with diligence and with energy and with enthusiasm, that’s exactly what Georgia’s going to become.”
Printed in the August 9, 2012