VALDOSTA — The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners approved a zone change on New Statenville Highway and Boring Pond Road that will allow a Dollar General store to be built on 1.6 acres of land.
Residents both for and against the building of the store spoke out at the meeting. Monika Patel, who owns RJ’s Grocery Store on the corner of New Statenville Highway and Boring Pond Road, told the board that small businesses such as her store would suffer.
Tracy Cape, a resident who has lived there for 38 years, said she was mostly concerned with safety. The store would bring increased traffic around where kids play, she suggested. She asked for the commissioners to delay their vote until they could actually see the road.
“That is a major concern, pulling out of (Boring Pond Road onto Statenville Highway),” Cape said. “We have had traffic accidents there before. It is a really bad road to pull out on.”
She said it will only get worse with the Dollar General being put there.
William Nijem, representing Dollar General, said the corner where the store will be going is a prime location for this type of store. He also said the store will be the smallest Dollar General concept with the idea for it to be a community store.
“If you haven’t noticed, a lot of these stores are in rural areas,” Nijem said.
He said the company has taken extra precaution to keep light pollution from bothering the surrounding homes. The parking spaces were originally facing out toward the homes, but the store moved them so that they are now facing the store.
Kay Singletary then spoke in favor of the Dollar General. She said the store would bring more jobs and be more convenient for local residents.
“I live about half a mile from where you’re talking about,” Singletary said. “I’d rather drive half a mile to get milk at nine o’clock at night than 14 miles to Walmart or any other grocery store.”
Vance Roberts also spoke in favor of the Dollar General. He said the store is a sign of progress and that the competition is a good thing for the area.
“I think that the company has taken extreme consideration, both with the location and how it’s facing the state highway, as well as the lighting,” Roberts said.
Thomas Lynn is a government and education reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at (229)244-3400 ext. 1256