Paulding Board of Commissioners members and staff pose with Deidre Holden, county supervisor of elections and voter registration, after she was honored April 9 for her recent selection as president of the new Georgia Association of Voter Registration and Election Officials.

Paulding County will help build a sewer system project to prepare the area around a south Paulding intersection for new development while solving a longstanding problem for existing retailers.

The Paulding County Commission voted April 9 to contribute $850,000 from its regular budget rather than water system customers for its part of a planned $1.64 million project to connect Kroger supermarket and its adjoining Ridge Crossing shopping center to the county’s sewer system.

The project includes construction of a pump station and almost three miles of sewer line.

County Administrator Frank Baker said the project will be a partnership between the county and Dallas-based Brock Investments Inc.

It will help the existing center and its tenants while also helping to spur new retail development which cannot build near the intersection because of lack of sewer service, Baker said.

The project will serve the shopping center at the intersection of Ridge, Dallas-Nebo and Baker's Bridge roads. Its tenants have relied on a privately operated sewer system that has not operated properly since the Kroger’s opening in the 2000s, said Darrell Vaughan, assistant director of the county water system.

Vaughan said outflow from the Kroger and surrounding retailers now drain to a pump station and adjacent treatment plant on the east end of the shopping center site “that’s pretty much been a maintenance nightmare from day one.”

“We’re glad to see the Kroger come off the headache that they’ve got there now,” he said.

“We’re not really involved with it. It’s permitted by the state directly to the Ridge Crossing development,” he said.

In addition, a neighboring AutoZone store now uses a septic tank system for its effluent, he said.

Baker said Brock first went to a new county staff unit called the Commercial Development Assistance Review Team, which was established to evaluate proposed projects.

“We were excited to talk about this,” Baker said, in reference to the review team. “This is a community development issue.”

“I called it a ‘home run,’" Baker said. "The reason why it's a home run is this development agreement not only spurs future commercial development, not residential development, but also helps some commercial development that is already there in our community."

Chairman Dave Carmichael said the shopping center was built before the county’s development regulations mandated that any new retailers in designated areas be served by sewer.

Plans call for installation of separate lines of 2,400 and 3,200 linear feet. The systems serving Kroger and AutoZone would be reversed to flow through the two new lines to a new pump station south of the center.

It then will be sent by force main through 10,000 linear feet of additional new lines north to link with the county’s existing system near Ingles supermarket on Nebo Road.

Commissioner Chuck Hart said he was “so thankful to see this come in here.”

“People come to us when you get in this position with problems,” Hart said. “But this was brought to us with a problem (and) solution.

“It’s really cool that the private sector is getting involved in this,” he said. “I know it’s to their benefit and to our benefit but it’s a very cool project.”

Baker said after the meeting the project is designed to spur retail development at all four corners around the intersection. He said it was using county dollars rather than water system funds because it was a county economic development initiative.

Vaughan said the funding will pay for engineering, design, easements, electric power, surveying and construction.