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County commission OKs historical society lease request
Labor for installation of drug task force office also approved
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On Tuesday, the Liberty County Board of Commissioners approved a request from the Liberty County Historical Society similar to its current lease agreement with the Hinesville Area Arts Council.

The arts group currently leases space in a county-owned storefront on North Commerce Street, and the county’s approval Tuesday paves the way for the historical society to open shop in the adjacent space, formerly home to the Manna House.

Like the arts council, the group will renovate an estimated 500-square-foot room on the facility’s ground floor in lieu of paying rent. Historical society Vice President Randy Branch estimated the renovations will run between $12,000 and $17,000, though the lease and final specifics have yet to be executed.

Before approving the request, the board expressed concern over liability. Commissioner Pat Bowen asked who would be responsible to make repairs in the event of a problem, such as roof leakage. County Administrator Joey Brown said such a problem would be worked out if it arises, but that the liability in this lease would be modeled after the one with the arts council.

Commissioner Eddie Walden said he feels a county building would fare better with a tenant in it than without, and other commissioners agreed. A motion to authorize the agreement based on the arts council contract passed unanimously. The lease has yet to be executed with financial specifics.

Branch said the society plans to start small, by featuring historical exhibitions in the space during the Hinesville Farmers Market hours, and that the group has larger ideas for the future.

During his report, county engineer Trent Long asked the board to approve a roads department site for installation of a prefabricated office building that will house the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office drug task force once the Multi-Agency Crack Enforcement unit disbands this summer.

The office, which will be installed adjacent to the jail and is funded through the county’s portion of MACE funds, is about $59,000, Long said. He estimated the time of construction to be less than a week.

During discussion, the commissioners expressed concern about overwhelming its roads department, but Long said the funds for the office could not cover third-party costs. The board authorized the roads department to complete the work.

The county also approved:

• Phase 5 final plat for development of the Villages at Limerick, a Dryden Enterprises subdivision near Midway

• Two separate bids for road and guardrail repairs at Islands Highway and Isle of Wight Road for a total of $41,125, pending income of SPLOST funds for District 4

• A $6,422.50 change order for road work on Oak Hampton Road, which brings the total to $657,098.33. The change order provides for installation of a geotextile fabric that will provide stabilization to the road to overcome unanticipated soil issues.

• A $21,146 change order for road work on Spencer Gaulden Road, bringing the total to $258,647.02. This change order also allows installation of geotextile fabric and correction of grade and curb issues.

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