Stockbridge City Councilwoman LaKeisha Gantt, pictured with Stockbridge Mayor Anthony Ford, said she has yet to hear from the developers of Jodeco South that they want a convention center and arena on their site.

Henry, Stockbridge leaders talk after clashing on convention center pitch

A week after Henry County and Stockbridge leaders clashed over land for a convention center and arena, at least two members of the two governments have sat down to talk about the impasse.

Henry Commissioner Bruce Holmes and Stockbridge City Councilwoman LaKeisha Gantt met over coffee Wednesday to talk about the possibility of a new meeting facility at the long-delayed Jodeco South mixed-used development in Stockbridge. 

The Henry Commission in late January proposed building a convention center on the 160-plus acre site, but Stockbridge objected because it would require the city to de-annex its land. 

Stockbridge is sensitive to talk of de-annexation after Eagle’s Landing -- a high-end Stockbridge community -- sought last year to separate from the city by de-annexing half of its land in a Nov. 6 referendum. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.

Gantt said she and Holmes had a good conversation about the convention center proposal, but that there is still nothing to negotiate since Stockbridge has not heard from Jodeco about its desire for the facility.

“There is really nothing for us to discuss until everyone is at the table,”  Gantt said. “That has not happened.”

Holmes said the convention center and arena would be a great opportunity for both Stockbridge and Henry County. It could be a catalyst for commercial growth because of the foot traffic it would attract.

But if Stockbridge isn’t interested, the county has other options. 

“Although all parties involved feel strongly that this is a tremendous location and will provide a phenomenal direct economic impact for the city of Stockbridge and the county, we are now considering relocating this investment to the Atlanta Motor Speedway near the city of Hampton or Locust Grove near I-75,” he said. “Wherever this project ends up, nearby communities will receive a huge economic boost.”