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City amphitheater to cost $500,000
Country music concert already booked for October
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The Hinesville City Council approved a $405,689 bid Thursday from R.H. Tyson Construction Co. for an amphitheater.

An additional $101,212 for engineering, consulting and inspections will bring the total cost to $506,901. The city has received a grant for $500,000 from OneGeorgia for the construction of the amphitheater.

It is to be the centerpiece of 150-acre Bryan Commons and has already scheduled an Oct. 13 concert by country musician Darryl Worley.

Marcus Sack, engineer with P.C. Simonton and Associates, said even though Tyson was the lowest bidder, its original bid was $585,874. He said engineers worked with the company to reduce costs and will continue to work to find ways to save on the project.

The council also approved a rezoning petition to change nearly five acres behind the Coca-Cola building from single-family dwellings to mixed-used buildings, allowing for apartments. The area is within the Downtown Overlay District and the Historic Urban Core Sub-area.

Rachael Hatcher, planning director with Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, said the new zoning could lead to more development but not what she’d describe as urban sprawl. She added there would be no adverse effect on the value of nearby properties because a landscaped buffer surrounding the area is required.

Other items approved by the council included a 60-day extension to the moratorium on digital signs. City Attorney Linnie Darden said the extension was to give officials time to act on recommendations to revise the city’s sign ordinance.

Council members also approved recommendations to distribute 2012 Community Development Block Grant funds. Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard said the $33,067 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would be divided between the Liberty Senior Activity Center ($20,000) and Kirk Healing Center ($13,067).

It was announced that Hinesville has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the Georgia Forestry Commission for the 23rd year.
Also, city employee Iris Cadiz was recognized for 35 years service.

Daisy Jones, program coordinator for the Homeless Prevention Program, presented Riceboro resident Tasha Mitchell as the newest graduate of the Assets for Independence. Mitchell is the fifth person to graduate from the program since it began in 2007. The program is intended to provide homeless and nearly homeless individuals with the life skills needed to become independent, Jones said.

According to Jones, AFI is a matched savings and financial literacy-based program that provides qualified, first-time homebuyers or college students with $6,000 toward the purchase of a home or education.

Mayor Jim Thomas said it is good for the city to be part of something that helps individuals and the community.

In his report, Thomas briefed council members about his recent trip to Washington, D.C., where he and others met with leaders in the Pentagon to remind them what the Army has at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield in order to mitigate any future decisions to cut forces or funds to this installation.

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