MOULTRIE -- Economic development officials report the new Sanderson Farms office in Moultrie has enjoyed a steady stream of persons interested in growing chickens.

A couple of weeks ago, the Mississippi-based company, number six in the nation's poultry industry, came to Moultrie to gauge grower interest and to locate sites for an integrated complex including a hatchery, a feed mill and a processing plant that would altogether create more than 1,700 jobs for the area.

Almost 600 people showed at two meetings held at Spence Field. The company also held a meeting in Nashville where 65 people showed, said Darrell Moore, Moultrie-Colquitt County Economic Development Authority (EDA) executive director.

EDA officials said Wednesday they were impressed that Sanderson Farms pitched in $5,000 to spruce up the community center as a gesture of good will.

The company is still evaluating South Georgia, Moore said, and the EDA is continuing its search for a 500-acre site for the processing plant.

Tuesday night, the Board of Commissioners formally declared its support of national poultry company Sanderson Farms locating the plant in Colquitt County.

The $150 million project is a good candidate for the state's OneGeorgia funds which are awarded to projects that bring jobs into Georgia.

In other county business, the County Commission:

Approved the use of county labor to move the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services to its new building in the beginning of May. Chairman Max Hancock said the county might have to hire part time help for the task.

Approved an upgrade in the county tax commissioner's office outdated computer system at a total cost of $26,464.

Approved the use of the courthouse square May 6 by Heritage Church for the National Day of Prayer.

Approved ABAC's request to use the square for a social event for students from 5 to 9 p.m. April 15.

Approved a request of a 21-gun salute in the community-wide law enforcement memorial service planned for May 13. No live ammunition will be used.

Approved the sole bid of 550 tons bulk cement at $86.11 per ton from Concrete Enterprise.

Approved the sole bid of $159,583 for a new wheel excavator from Yancey Brothers. The bid was $44,583 over budget, but Road Superintendent Charles Weathers recommended the purchase, justifying it with a savings from the purchase of a front end loader and not buying a hydroseeder.

Approved the low bid of $6,293 for 6,200 gallons of asphalt from Poly Asphalt.

Approved the condemnation process on Parcel 10 on the Mitchell Suber Road.

About 50 people will visit Colquitt County with the 2004 Heart and Soul tour later this month. Business leaders, state and federal officials, legislators, the philanthropic community, economic development officials, media and members of the Georgia Cities Foundation Board of Directors will travel to 11 Southwest Georgia cities beginning in Montezuma on April 20 and finishing in Vienna April 23.

A resident of Tony Brothers Lane asked the county to upgrade what he considers a dangerous road. Board members said they would consider the matter.

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