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Fall start for justice center set
JD justicenew
This computer generated rendering of the new justice center accurately displays (to size and scale) how the facility will appear when completed. - photo by Illustration provided
By John Deike
Coastal Courier (Hinesville, GA) Staff Writer

Despite progress in planning of the new justice center, some still question the details.
The $19 million, 19,000 sq. ft. justice center will soon go over final review by county officials and by James Buckley and Associates, and construction is planned to commence in the fall, Buckley architect David Holton said.
The specs and computer renderings Holton displayed showed refined floor plans, and he said the exterior of the building will compare to an ancient Greek style of architecture, which is indicative of courthouses and education centers.
“The building will sit on a cast stone and concrete base, which will give it a monumental feel,” Holton said.
Despite the progression of the project, controversy still exists with this development for some residents.
The problem lies in the purchasing of land between Bagley and MLK abutting Main Street in Hinesville that was originally valued at $675,000 by the county tax assessors office in 2005, Citizens Advisory Council Chairman John Henderson said. But some of the landowners at that location were unwilling to sell, and county officials had to collectively increase their offers by 250 percent to acquire all the necessary land, he said.
To date, it has cost the county $2.5 million in land acquisitions, appraisals and surveys to attain the desired property, Chief Financial Officer Kim McGlothlin said.
The $2.5 million will come out of the Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax fund that will also cover the construction costs of the justice center, she said.
County officials could have chosen a plot of land they owned on US Highway 84 (the site of the old hospital), but (to the dismay of some residents in the county) they opted for the Main Street location instead.
The county owes over $1.6 million in bonds on the site of the old hospital that is currently being paid off through property taxes, a source said speaking on terms of anonymity.
If the justice center would have been built there, the county could have used sales tax money to pay off the debt, and they could have used the newly available property tax money to go toward other general fund operations, the source said.
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