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Hinesville City Council approves SPLOST pact, medical complex design
Hinesville sign

Hinesville City Council’s Thursday meeting opened with Mayor Allen Brown reading a proclamation recognizing July 24, 2016, as “City of Hinesville Centennial Day,” recognizing the anniversary of when Hinesville was incorporated as a city by the General Assembly.

Brown also presented an award to Lynn Sikes, the mother of Sherriff Steve Sikes, for her work decades ago when she compiled a scrapbook focused on the history of Hinesville. It was later put on display at City Hall.

Intergovernmental agreement for SPLOST

The council agreed to have Brown enter into an “intergovernmental agreement with the other local governments in Liberty County regarding the distribution of the proceeds from the proposed” Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax VI, according to the agenda.

The contract estimates that tax, if approved by voters, would raise $54 million over six years and that Hinesville would receive 21.79 percent of funding, or $11,767,454, according to the agenda.

The proposed projects that have been agreed upon for the six year SPLOST period include a new fire station, reconstructing Bradwell Park, debt services, road and drainage improvements, and purchasing public-safety vehicles and equipment.

Voters in Liberty County will be asked again to vote yes or no for the 1-percent sales tax on Nov. 8. They rejected renewing the SPLOST in November 2014, and it has not been collected in Liberty since April 2015.

New medical complex

Council approved the design of a medical complex that will be built at North Main Street and East Gen. Stewart Way that will also abut Le Conte Street. Because the project will be located in the downtown development area, it had to be presented to the Hinesville Design Review board for a recommendation, according to Gabriele Hartage with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission.

The four-building complex will sit on 2 acres and be developed in two phases. The first phase will start with two buildings next to an entrance at Le Conte Street.

According to the agenda, the doctor proposing to build the complex is Dr. Phillip Ajayi, a Hinesville pediatrician.

Contractor woes

Paul Simonton with P.C. Simonton and Associates presented a quarterly report on construction projects for the city. He again discussed the wastewater treatment plant, which is being upgraded on Fort Stewart.

The project is officially 30 days behind schedule, Simonton said, and the company has had problems recently with a subcontractor that did not know how to seal concrete cracks in the tanks to make them water tight. Simonton and Associates had to get a second subcontractor to finish the work.

The project is estimated to be complete by Jan. 24, he said.

Alcohol ordinance

The council approved a new “Alcoholic Beverage Establishment Separation Ordinance,” which would amend the city’s code by allowing establishments in the downtown triangle of Hinesville to have a Class I or II alcohol license even though they may be located near a school, church or residential area.

The triangle encompasses the area of the city between Gen. Stewart Way, Gen. Screven Way and Oglethorpe Highway. Establishments in other parts of the city may not get a license if they are within a certain distance of these locations.

According to materials explaining the ordinance, its adoption will “encourage the restoration, redevelopment, development of the downtown area.”

Chamber/CVB update

Leah Poole, the CEO of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, updated the council about those organizations’ activities for the first six months of the year.

One of the items presented was about the movie “The Intervention,” which was filmed in Liberty County last year. It sold for $2.5 million at Sundance Film Festival and Poole said she was trying to get a showing of the movie in Hinesville.

Poole also discussed the CVB’s “Southern Cooks” video series. She said people from across the country and world were watching their online videos about locals cooking Southern recipes. The videos may be watched on the CVB’s YouTube channel.

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