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Plans for justice center move forward
As comparison, officials looked at how the justice center will fit in with other buildings in the area, clockwise: The planned justice center, Liberty County Courthouse, Main Street in downtown Hinesville, the old Coca-Cola plant, the old jail and The Heritage Bank are shown. - photo by Photo provided.
Millions of dollars in development plans are currently resting on the minds of Hinesville city officials.
During Thursday’s city council meeting, the board accepted design plans for the new $19 million justice center that will most likely go out for bid for construction by mid September, James Buckley Associates architect David Holton said.
The new center, to be funded by the county, is expected to be three stories, cover about a 19,000 square-foot area on South Main Street (directly across from The Heritage Bank) and take about 18 months to build when construction commences, he said.
The exterior designs have been completed and the extensive interior plans are still being drawn up, Holton said.
In other news, the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority rejected an $8 million bid by Ruby Collins Construction Co. (the current contractor) to expand the new wastewater treatment plant, City Manager Billy Edwards said.
Since construction commenced, the master plans were changed to modify the plant so it could eventually take on a four million gallon per day payload, but Ruby Collins asked for an additional $8 million (bringing the total project cost to $30 million) to expedite the expansion to save the city money in the long run, city engineer Paul Simonton said.
The council accepted the proposal, but GEFA stopped it because it wants to give other companies the chance to bid.
By bringing in other companies, the competitive bidding could bring the cost down, but Simonton does not expect the price tag to change much.
This bidding needs to occur in the next 30 days because Ruby Collins will only perform the expansion while they are still on the site, and their completion date is quickly approaching, Mayor Thomas Ratcliffe said.
However, Simonton said he believes a bid can get in before then.
With the help of councilman Steve Troha, the board plans to spend $150,000 to install a traffic light at US 84 and Sandy Run Road, and to make improvements to the intersection, Edwards said.
“The Georgia Department of Transportation will have to inspect the intersection, and make their recommendations before a light can be installed,” he said.
Edwards and Hinesville Police Department Chief George Stagmeier are currently working on a study to see whether adult entertainment establishments have negative impacts on the neighborhoods of Hinesville, Edwards said.
Until the study is complete, a moratorium has been placed on the issuance of occupational licenses for these establishments, Edwards said.
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