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In February 2002, Watkinsville was “rapidly adding new subdivisions,” such as Stone Shoals on Barnett Shoals Road and Christian Lake near Harris Shoals Park, according to The Oconee Enterprise. 

The same could be said almost 20 years later in late 2021 as the Wisteria Ridge apartment complex, Trove subdivision and Wire Park are under development in Watkinsville. 

Wisteria Ridge is Watkinsville’s forthcoming 89-unit, 199-bed apartment complex at 75 North Main Street. The land has been zoned multi-family since 1968 and was approved for a residential complex in the early 2000s but was delayed twice—first because of the Great Recession and then later because of a shortage of sewer capacity. 

Trove will offer 56 homes on 35.63 acres off Morrison Street and Colham Ferry Road. 

Wire Park off Barnett Shoals Road will comprise of 56 condos, 21 townhouses and 53 single-family homes in addition to office and retail space. 

Early in the year, the Oconee County Library Board voted to move the Oconee County Library to Wire Park within the next few years. 

Golden Pantry and Smith Planning Group are relocating their corporate headquarters to Wire Park. One of the most anticipated eateries is Scoops, an ice cream and candy store. 

Wire Park will also house Oconee’s first “food hall,” an open-air courtyard of various restaurants dubbed “The Grid.”

The lush greenspace at the front of Wire Park will host live music, family movies and fitness classes, said developer Duke Gibbs, CEO of Gibbs Capital. There will be a number of walking trails in the back. For the second year in a row, Wire Park hosted a community Christmas celebration earlier this month. 

Greeting visitors is a 47-foot silo repurposed as Wire Park’s entrance landmark. It was once used to store electrical parts when the Southwire plant was in operation. The building itself dates back to the late 1950s when Anaconda was Oconee’s biggest employer. 

In March, the Board of Commissioners approved Oconee Mercantile, a mixed-use development off Macon Highway. The property is just outside of the city limits of Watkinsville where Oconee State Bank formerly held its headquarters. 

In June, Oconee State Bank opened its new headquarters building at the intersection of Main Street and Experiment Station Road. The two-story, white-brick building “makes a statement about our vision of being essential to the lives and businesses of the communities we serve,” said CEO and President Neil Stevens. The building was dedicated in memory of H. Mell Wells, who served as president of Oconee State Bank from 1979 until his death in 1986.

Watkinsville wrapped up the year with a community workday in December to install playground equipment for the Extra Special People Miracle League playground, which will be accessible to the public once it’s completed.

“Folks, the finish line is in sight,” said Watkinsville Mayor Brian Brodrick. “This is going to be an amazing space for the children of Watkinsville and the region to make memories when complete this spring.” 

For more on this story, see the Dec. 30 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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