Brunswick city officials were in the midst of encouraging negotiations to begin construction of a long-awaited hotel and convention center when the COVID-19 outbreak ground everything to a halt a month ago.

Social distancing has forced city commissioners to meet online and the focus has been public health and providing the services needed to keep the city running.

But projects such as the Oglethorpe Convention Center and the improvements planned at Mary Ross Park are still very much on the minds of city officials

“We haven’t been discussing these things for obvious reasons,” Mayor Cornell Harvey said. “A lot of things have been put behind us. This pandemic has thrown us for a loop.”

In January, city officials selected Rimrock Development as the developer to build the hotel that will be adjacent to the convention center.

An architect had pared down the size of the convention center to 17,000 square feet and it appeared plans to begin construction in coming months would become a reality.

“It’s still a go,” Harvey said. “We’ve talked to the company building the hotel. Their issue was with parking. All it needs now is for everyone to get to the table to get it going.”

As for the planned improvements at Mary Ross Park, Harvey said it won’t take long to put in the splash pad. And it would be easier to install with few people going to the park.

“It might make sense to put it in while the park is closed,” he said.

But it might be safer to wait until the social distancing requirements are relaxed before installing the pad and other improvements at the park.

It’s still on our priority list.”

Harvey said if the public continues to follow health guidelines and social distancing, life will return to normal soon.

“I really feel in my heart we’ll be OK,” he said. “It has to be measured.”

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