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Old jail getting ready for use
AP OldJailPic
A worker installs the tin roof on the old jail. - photo by Alena Parker / Coastal Courier
The old county jail on Main Street is going to be usable again soon, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority learned at its monthly meeting last week.
The board is hoping the historic jail preservation project will be complete by mid-May. It won't house criminals after it is complete. It will become offices, possibly for the HDDA staff.
"Things are really starting to come together," Vicki Davis, HDDA director, said. "They've been working quite steadily on it, but now we're really able to see some immediate results."
Those results include replacing the roof, removing lead-based paint and priming the jail bars.
"We're pleased to report that we're coming in cheaper than we originally thought," Brian Smith, HDDA chairman, said.
The project, estimated at $180,000 over two fiscal years, is finishing the second year at $165,000.
To make the building functional, the authority is having the contractor install plumbing, electrical and heating/air.
"The city agreed that they wanted us to have this project complete, not to the point where it was just restored but not usable," Smith said.
In an effort to keep the building's originality, there are obstacles in trying to modernize it. The all-brick walls, for example, make wiring difficult.
"It's a historic building. We don't want to put everything in the wall. It needs to be in conduit surface-mounted," Smith said.
Davis said rust that could not be removed from the bars is eating through the primer.
It will be up to the board to decide to paint over or "leave it as is and let it be part of the history and character of the building," Davis said.
"Painting of the bars was not included in the contract, just priming of the bars," Davis said.
Smith also said there were "some challenges with how to illuminate the facility so that we can properly utilize it."
On another subject, Mayor Jim Thomas described an initiative to put up signs coming into Hinesville and identifying districts.
"In about six months, we want new city limit signs at the four entrances of Hinesville," Thomas said.
He said he doesn't the design of the signs from the two projects to clash, but have the same theme.
The recently organized Army Community Heritage Partnership Program will help with the work.
Smith said, "We're getting a fresh view from an outside perspective, which is what you need when you're trying to figure out where a sign needs to be."
The mayor said he believes the signs will take on more importance as the county grows.
"As we're growing these signs are going to be invaluable to people coming in here, between Midway and Hinesville there's going to be a lot of development," Thomas said.
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