Wednesday was a big day for Darien and McIntosh County. Art Lucas held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a three-story condominium complex, a 40-plus room boutique hotel and a stand-alone restaurant all overlooking the Darien River along the city’s downtown waterfront.
It is the type of project that can help rejuvenate an area. It’s also one being put together by a private business instead of a government entity.
McIntosh County’s government though has done the work to make such an endeavor potentially profitable. The county has aggressively developed bicycle trails to provide long rides, including a path that stretches along Fort King George Road.
That also happens to be the same road where Lucas’ Oaks by the River project is being built. The symmetry of it all makes for an appealing package for those looking for a weekend getaway.
Of course, Lucas’ project wasn’t without controversy. Some protested the plan when it appeared to endanger a centuries-old live oak. To protect the tree, Lucas went back to the drawing board and had the plans revised to make sure the tree would not be affected.
Lucas’ development is expected to do big things for Darien. The CEO of the McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority, Dawn Malin, and the authority’s chairman Chris Harper both think the venture will be a boon for the area in terms of jobs and people visiting Darien.
We applaud Lucas for his initiative. He grew up in McIntosh County and his initiative will help the community thrive in the future.
The same path Darien took should be one Brunswick considers as well to help its downtown area thrive again. A private investor willing to put the amenities people covet in prime real estate such as the Oglethorpe Block could help provide a boost for downtown.
The project also speaks to the importance of synchronicity in any plan to build up downtown Brunswick. If everything moves in the right direction — creating an appealing gateway to the city, creating a vibrant downtown, etc — great things can be accomplished.