MHF News answers your questions! Have a burning question about Henry County? Submit it now and Ask the Editor.

August 16, 2023

Q: Is there an update on the closure of Cotton Fields Golf Course in McDonough?

A: County staff conveyed at the May town hall meeting their plan to close the course in October 2023. There has not been an update since that time. At the August 14 meeting, the county commissioners approved hiring an architect to design the new public safety campus. Design work will take about one year.

Q: What is building across from Publix at Luella on SR 155?

A: Property records indicate the land is owned by Locust Grove Car Wash LLC and Locust Grove Development LLC. MHF News has not been able to verify the planned uses.

Q: Are there any updates on construction in front of Publix at Kelleytown?

A: Outparcels will be a new dental office and car wash. There are also plans for a senior living apartment building to the south.

Q: What is the latest on the various rezoning requests in Ola?

A: Right now, there are three residential rezoning requests and two commercial requests pending in Ola. The board of commissioners have no upcoming meetings in September. There is no update when the requests may come before the board.

June 27, 2023

Q: What is the status of widening highway 42 between the McDonough Square and Georgia 138 in Stockbridge?

A: The project is still progressing through preliminary engineering. Right now, the state DOT expects to begin right of way acquisition by 2027. Construction has been pushed to the year 2030. The most recent cost estimate for this project totals $170 million dollars. For more information, the state website project page is available here.

Q: What is happening with Bridges at Jodeco? What restaurants are going there?

A: Stockbridge city officials reported in June that Costco had closed on their property. They have now began construction. Other retailers or restaurants have not yet been announced for the project.

Q: Are there any updates concerning the bridge on Rabbit Run in Locust Grove?

A: Henry County entered into an emergency contract to design a new bridge immediately following the bridge wash-out in February 2022. The item came before the board of commissioners in summer 2022 to reflect the emergency authorization. There has not been an update since that time.

Q: Are there any plans for a new elementary school in Locust Grove?

A: Yes, Henry County Schools owns property on South Unity Grove Road for a new elementary school. The current education SPLOST program, spanning collections from 2023–2027, includes building it. The new school is estimated to open by the 2027–28 school year.

April 3, 2023

Q: What is happening at the roundabout on state route 81 and Snapping Shoals Road / Jackson Lake Road?

A: Georgia DOT is replacing the mini-roundabout with a full-size circle. The mini-roundabout was first installed as a temporary safety measure while the state underwent design and bought right of way for the larger project. Construction is expected to complete this fall.

Q: Is there a restriction on the height of buildings? The new building off highway 42 is building a vertical tower.

A: No, there is no height restriction within industrial zoning districts. The new building will be an automated cold storage facility. Other similar buildings within the county top out at 130’.

Q: Why is there not a northbound left-hand turn light on Jonesboro Road at Willow Lane?

A: Georgia DOT maintains the signals on that section of Jonesboro Road. When the county requested a new left-hand turn signal, that request was denied. This was due to how a new turn signal would affect the traffic flow on Jonesboro Road by reducing its green time.

Q: Are there any plans to widen highway 42 between McDonough and Locust Grove?

A: Not presently. Widening the state route between the two cities would cost an estimated $120–$150 million dollars. The county would need financial assistance from Georgia DOT to pay for the project.

Q: Why doesn’t the county bond $500 million dollars, or a similar amount, to pay for road projects?

A: Borrowing funds for road projects would require voter approval via a referendum. Henry County has not placed such a question on the ballot. If the voters approved it, then property taxes for bond repayment may increase depending on the amount borrowed.

Funding is also not the only component to a project; major widening projects require years to complete design and buy right of way before they can build.

Q: Why aren’t road improvements happening? There are new subdivisions under construction throughout the county.

A: Major road projects are in progress, but require years to undergo design and buy right of way. First, a little bit of history: Georgia lawmakers increased the state gas tax in 2015. This doubled the state’s annual funding for transportation. Since then, Henry County has seen several major projects receive funding. The projects began design work around 2016 following the new gas tax.

Several of these projects are close to beginning construction. For example, the state route 20 widening in McDonough is starting this spring. The western parallel connector, a new four-lane roadway next to I-75, is set to start work next year. Altogether, there is over $700 million dollars this decade for major road projects in Henry County. One can expect this number to increase in the future, with other state funding and local SPLOST dollars.

March 20, 2023

Q: Are there any new senior apartments under construction?

A: Willow Place is under construction off highway 155 in McDonough. The new income-based senior apartments expect to open later this year. MHF News is not actively aware of other senior apartments under construction.

Q: Are there any plans for building new schools in the Timber Ridge / Ola area?

A: The current education SPLOST program includes building classroom additions at Ola High and Ola Middle. Design work for the middle school addition begins this fall. The next E-SPLOST referendum in 2026 will provide an opportunity for additional future projects.

Q: What areas of highway 20 are scheduled to be widened?

A: The Georgia 20 widening project extends between I-75 and Phillips Drive in McDonough. Georgia DOT issued the notice to proceed for road work to begin on March 7.

Q: What times do the school zone speed cameras operate?

A: The school zone cameras operate from one hour before the school day begins to one hour after the school day ends. This includes the middle of the day when the normal speed limit is in effect.

Q: Will there be a traffic light at highway 42 at Harris Drive?

A: Yes, Henry County worked with Georgia DOT in 2022 to secure funding and the state approval for a new traffic light. There is not presently an update when installation may occur.

Q: Is Costco building on Jodeco Road?

A: Costco does not comment on upcoming stores, nor is a new Georgia location listed as coming soon on their website. MHF News has not been able to independently verify whether Costco is building a location within Henry County.

March 2, 2023

Q: Will there be sidewalks on the Jonesboro Road widening?

A: Yes, the widening project will have sidewalks on either side of the road.

Q: When will right of way acquisition for the Bethlehem Road interchange take place?

A: Right of way acquisition should begin later this year. An open house with the latest concept layout is expected in the very near future.

Q: What is building at the corner of state route 20 and Airline Road?

A: Henry County approved two rezoning requests at the location in 2021. On the southeast corner will be new commercial development. Plans include a gas station and self-storage business. On the southwest corner will be a new subdivision.

Q: When will the roundabout at Georgia 20 and McGarity Road commence?

A: The project is presently in right of way acquisition. Georgia DOT has postponed construction until 2025.

Q: Do you have any insight as to why Bill Gardner Parkway will be widened to four lanes before highways 155 or 42?

A: The transportation SPLOST project list consists predominantly of major projects along local roads. Through the use of local funding, the county can complete a local road project years sooner than if using state or federal funds for the same project.

Widening state highways is largely dependent on financial assistance from Georgia DOT because of the high price tag. The cost estimate to widen highway 155 between I-75 and Bill Gardner Parkway is $72 million dollars. By comparison, the Bill Gardner Parkway widening costs $34 million.

Q: Will there be a MARTA bus station in McDonough?

A: There are no plans for MARTA to operate in Henry County. The county completed a transit master plan in 2022 identifying future transit plans. The full plan is available to view on the county website (PDF link – 407 pages).