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Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 9:45am

Athens Considers 'River District'

Athens-Clarke County economic development officials are looking at a plan to encourage development on a swath of land between downtown and the North Oconee River.

The plan involves combining parcels of land already owned by the county with vacant land in private hands and marketing the 16 acres to businesses.

Officials say that if the project is developed over about a seven-year period, the so-called "river district" would generate an estimated $3.3 billion economic impact over 20 years and at least 580 jobs.

Economic Development Foundation board members voted on Monday to support the concept. Among the issues officials will have to deal with include how to pay for the initial $41 million investment.