Defunct Parker shopping center to become lumber yard, create 60 jobs for Bay County

PARKER — Some long-awaited spring cleaning is coming to Parker, along with about 60 new jobs. 

The city of Parker has announced that there are plans in place to clean up and revive Hickory Plaza after it has sat vacant for over three years. 

Fulcrum Building Group is the new owner of the property, Parker Mayor Andrew Kelly said. He added Fulcrum approached the previous owners about a year ago about putting something into the plaza.  

“(Fulcrum) reached out to the owners of the property and wanted to know if they could put a hardware store in there, more like a lumber yard than say a Lowe’s store,” Kelly said. “Maybe it’d be like a Lowe’s store where you went in and bought screws and nails, but mostly you’d go in and buy wood. And they started putting some of that wood out there today, temporarily.” 

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Kelly said that two weeks ago, the city approved for Fulcrum to proceed with erecting a temporary building until they can get their new building up and running. 

“When the building is erected, they’re going to sell wood out of that building,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be built in three phases. We’re told different types of wood, trusses, windows, doors, with an office.” 

Even prior to Hurricane Michael, the plaza had a tough history, Kelly said. The strip mall had housed a history of services, from a bingo hall to a beauty shop.  

“The whole section was kind of abandoned already for quite some time and it was totally devastated in the hurricane. It was totally, totally undoable,” Kelly said. “And for a short period of time, the last administration had parked RVs on the front part of the property for the recovery and so forth, that all was removed a couple of years ago.” 

This revival of the plaza is huge for the city of Parker, Kelly said. With the addition of the lumber yard, he said Fulcrum has promised to hire upwards of 60 individuals from the Parker area, with the starting pay up to $20 with medical benefits. 

“To give 60 people, 60 individuals jobs at $20 an hour, it’s more than most people in Parker do earn an hour,” Kelly said. “So that’s going to be really, really nice for us.” 

This lumber yard is just one of the updates coming to Parker, with a storage facility being built on Highway 98 and new apartments on the end of the bridge by Tyndall Air Force Base. 

“That’s one of the reasons I ran (for mayor) because I knew that we needed to get this influx of money and I really wanted it to be from the outside, so that the people of Parker didn’t have to pay for this,” Kelly said. “And we are blessed that we are getting all this outside business and construction happening. Every day now, it seems like something new is being built, erected, or repaired and that makes me feel really good inside.” 

Kelly said it has been the work of every Parker official and resident that has made this happen and gotten them to where they are now. 

“It’s everybody working together and my goal is to make Parker better than it was before the hurricane. I don’t want to have any more debris or old worn-out buildings. I fully intend to see all those bulldozed and code enforced and disposed of.” 

Read More: Defunct Parker shopping center to become lumber yard, create 60 jobs for Bay County

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