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Posted: January 23, 2014 10:00 p.m.

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Social Circle plans new fire station

A new fire station is set to go up in Social Circle before the end of the year.

The city held its annual retreat last weekend and continued work on its strategic plan. The plan, originally instituted in 2011 and set to run through 2021, was extended to go through 2022 after Friday and Saturday’s meetings.

Each year the city goes over the plan and budgets out what will be accomplished throughout the next 12 months. This year, Social Circle will work on some of the things it wasn’t able to accomplish in 2013, and continue on SPLOST projects.

Among the items on the agenda is building the fire station on 5 acres adjacent to the General Mills facility on East Hightower Trail, according to Mayor Hal Dally. The land was donated to the city by General Mills. Other projects scheduled are working on the sidewalk on East Hightower and replacing some of the lift stations.

"The process from this point forward is to look at the items and see what it would take to get done in the fiscal budget," Dally said. "We’ll spend from now until the end of April working on getting it down to a manageable number."

Social Circle has been formulating these annual plans to hit its strategic goals since a bus tour of the city with newly elected officials in 2011. Shortly after that, the officials gathered for a retreat for the first time in January 2012. Ever since, the city has been progressing for beyond 2020.

One of the final pieces to the strategic puzzle is a new library, which will be built at the site of the old Welcome Inn structure and land at 184 S. Cherokee Road, which was purchased in January. City managers were awaiting results of asbestos testing before the building could be demolished. Based on those results, the city will be able to clear the land sooner than originally thought.

"The results came back better than expected," Dally said. "There’s one area with asbestos needing to be cleared before it’s demolished. It couldn’t have come out much better than that."

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