Community prepping for change from cyber industry

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Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 / News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O’Clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Imagine, brand new apartments along the Augusta Canal.

Plans to remodel King Mill are in the early stages, but the community already bracing for change, change that officials say needs to include the community that has called the area home for generations.

New cyber. New facilities and jobs. And now, new apartments.

“The residential portion of Harrisburg is going to change. You’re going to have a lot of young millennials there,” said Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

The latest development to come out of the new cyber campus proposed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal shows plans to refurbish King Mill’s loft style.

“People are going to want to come to Augusta and in turn make it a more metropolitan area,” said Erica Schoultz, Director of Augusta’s Boys and Girls Club.

Commissioner Fennoy wants to make sure that metropolitan change doesn't force out communities that have called Augusta their home for generations.

MATT: "Do you expect the cost of living to go up in the area?"
FENNOY: "Yes."

He says cyber will provide new opportunities, and people need to seize them.

"Cape Global have actually expressed an interest in getting the people who live in Harrisburg involved in the cyber industry,” said Fennoy.

To Commissioner Fennoy, people that live in the area should be given a chance to be a part of the industry that will transform their area; not just outsiders.

“I serve with students at the Boys and Girls Club, and I know that their parents are often looking for work, for opportunities to grow,” said Schoultz.

Shoultz says education is key.

"Introducing our students, even as early as first grade, to science and technology."

She wants kids who grow up with the industry in their backyard to stay and work here.

"With cyber security, it's going to provide internships for students that are graduating, it's going to provide jobs."

Students who may one day call the King Mill apartments their homes.

"Cyber is going to be the catalyst for that happening,” said Fennoy.

Commissioner Fennoy says around 30 state agencies are expected to come to the area and be a part of the new cyber campus boom. He says he wants the community to succeed in changing with the times, but there needs to be a plan to set people up for success that the city, developers, and neighbors all need to be a part of.

Read the original version of this article at www.wrdw.com.