Paulding Planning and Zoning staff members have reviewed and approved the civil plans for the new Academy store and they are now reviewing architectural plans.
Academy's project manager and architect were in Hiram on Tuesday to discuss plans for the building, which is slated to be slightly over 74,000 square feet. Plans call for the old Kroger store to be torn down and replaced by the new Academy building.
Academy plans to enhance the parking lot by using parking islands with landscaping around those areas in front of the store.
Chris Robinson, Paulding Planning and Zoning managers said of the landscaping changes, "All you have now in the parking lot is just asphalt and Academy plans some nice landscaping."
According to Robinson, one of the first things the Academy visitors requested was information about how they could be of assistance to nonprofits in the area.
On the Academy website, one of the stated goals is "active community support and grassroots involvement."
"They have been super to work with," Robinson added.
If plans continue to move ahead as scheduled, Robinson said construction could start as early as August.
Academy is a Texas-based company and is moving into many new markets, especially in Georgia. Currently they have over 125 stores in 11 states.
Academy stores offer a wide range of sporting goods, including hunting, fishing, camping and outdoors, boating and marine, golf, and fitness equipment.
In addition to Academy, several other new businesses will be locating along the Highway 278 corridor in Hiram.
The Aldi grocery chain has been given approval on civil plans for a new location on the south side of Highway 278 near Cleburne Parkway, with architectural approval expected on Thursday. Robinson expects the grocery store to be completed prior to the Academy opening.
A new Olive Garden restaurant has received all local approvals and has now received state approval for a stream buffer variance. The restaurant will be located on the north side of Highway 278.