Callaway Gardens looking to sell 4,000 acres of land - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Callaway Gardens looking to sell 4,000 acres of land

PINE MOUNTAIN, GA (WTVM) -

Changes could soon be on the way for one of the biggest tourist destinations in our area.

Callaway Gardens is in the process of selling a 4,000 acre chunk of its property in Harris County, and officials say the reason to pay off debt. 

The 4,000 acres of wooded land is just a part of the 13,000 acres Callaway Gardens owns. The plot for sale sits on either side of Nelson Road near the Harris County Airport. 

"We've struggled for, I don't know, 15 years with trying to make it all work.  Taking that debt load off makes it a whole lot easier for us to move forward.  We're very excited about it," said Chairman and CEO of Callaway Gardens Edward Callaway.

Callaway says the sell would erase their debt - a positive turn-around after a hard economic time. 

In 2004, they employed about 800 people.  Callaway says that number has dropped to 500 and the possible sale comes just on the heels of letting go almost 50 employees this year. 

"Every single full-time person who works here takes two weeks furlough a year.  I'm so happy to be ready to get rid of that so we can pay our people what they are supposed to be paid and we might be able to grow back a little bit.  We just have to take it one step at a time," explained Callaway.

Callaway says there are still challenges before any deal can be finalized.  The potential buyer asked for the dirt road portion of Nelson Road to be closed for the purchase. 

We asked, but no nearby homeowners wanted to speak on camera, but some told us off-camera, the closed road would add time to their commute in the morning and some have concerns about access to an old cemetery.

'We want to make sure that everybody who has a relative has continued access and that cemetery is taken care of as well as it has been in the past.  It is a real piece of history," says Callaway. 

Callaway says a solution has not been found yet for the few drivers on that road, but he wants to find a situation that will work for all.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly