While state officials eagerly await Rivian Automotive to announce whether or not Georgia will be the site of the company’s new multibillion dollar electric vehicle manufacturing plant, many Rutledge residents are hoping the historic deal fails.
Georgia is fiercely competing with Texas to become the next location of Rivian’s second massive manufacturing plant, that could cost up to $5 billion to develop, that will create thousands of jobs and churn out an estimated 200,000 electric vehicles a year. Rivian is reportedly searching for a plot of land between 2,000 and 10,000 acres to build its multibillion electric car manufacturing plant. Rivian also landed a deal with Amazon to produce 100,000 electric delivery vehicles in the next three years.
Hundreds of Rutledge residents have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the possible development rumored to be constructed just a few miles away from downtown Rutledge.
“We feel hopeless,” said one resident who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s totally up to the state. Apparently Rivian is choosing between here and somewhere in Texas. [Governor Brian Kemp] has offered up our small slice of the world and state government overrides county government and city government. Very discouraged...it’s a lost cause…”
The Rutledge, Georgia Small But Special Facebook page was abuzz this week with local Rutledge residents brainstorming ways to oppose the project and voicing concerns about a manufacturing plant bringing in unwanted traffic, crowded development, and growth that would erode Rutledge’s historic rural character. Others were concerned about long-term success, that if Rivian fails as a company in the future that Rutledge would be left with an empty manufacturing plant on its doorstep.
Some residents urged their community members to write letters to Governor Kemp, State Senator Burt Jones, and House Representative Dave Belton to voice their opposition. Posts on the page related to Rivian garnered more than 1,000 views and generated dozens of comments, most expressing opposition to the proposed Rivian project that could lead to a massive electric car manufacturing plant built off Exit 101 on I-20, just three miles away from Rutledge.
Some Rutledge residents met with the Morgan County Planning Department this week to discuss the matter, but their hopes were dashed after learning it was beyond the county’s control.
“Apparently the powers that be down at the state capital have had this plot of land in their sight for some time. When the state wants to push an economic development project the affected municipality is virtually helpless in stopping them,” wrote the administrator for the Rutledge, Georgia Small But Special Facebook page.
“Rivian has been offered this land, even though not zoned as industrial, and until Rivian decides to choose between Rutledge or someplace in Texas we have to basically sit and wait. ... Even though it sounds as if we are giving up, we’re not. There will continue to be posts about what is going on with the project if Rutledge is chosen...And once the decision is made the county can become involved in a lot of ways to protect its citizens from harm from the project.”