The Union Recorder

June 12, 2013

Negotiations underway for Shaw Building repurpose

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville and Fox Holdings Limited agreed to officially engage in negotiations for the repurposing of the Shaw Building located off South Wayne Street.

Georgia College Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Renee Fontenot presented Milledgeville City Council with a repurposing proposal for the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Community Business & Arts Development Center last month. The innovation hub would provide a shared space for a wide range of activities fostering the development of community economic potential, according to the proposal's mission statement.

Councilwoman Jeanette Walden, District 2, said this is a proud day for Milledgeville.

“I think it will give an opportunity to young people who want to get into a business that may not have had it and also create jobs and maybe keep some of the young college graduates in our town,” Walden said.

The “Center” has support from various local development authorities, the three colleges and business owners. Area resident David Sinclair, who assists the Central State Hospital redevelopment efforts, is on board as acting chairman for Fox Holdings, a private offshore private property holding and development group. 

He thanked the city for its cooperation Tuesday evening.

“Within the past few weeks, there has been a number of positive enquiries from interested parties who may well become future tenants of the repurposed Shaw Building,” Sinclair said. “This is very encouraging and both myself and Dr. Fontenot are looking forward to working with the City of Milledgeville in this venture.”

The 93,000 square foot building could harbor a convention center, manufacturing facilities, a production kitchen, art studio and tech hub to name a few proposals outlined by Fontenot.

Solar Zones, LLC needs 10,000 square feet for solar panel production, and along with the Milledgeville Players is ready to move. The Players are committed to building a 200- to 250-seat theater.

Phase one construction could begin no later than July pending city approval, according to Sinclair.

• Georgia Safe Sidewalks

The city authorized a contract with Georgia Safe Sidewalks for sidewalk trip hazard mitigation on portions of the right of way along South Liberty Street between Hancock and Franklin Street.

The raised sidewalk panel portions will be edged out, creating a smooth Americans with Disabilities Act compliant surface.

“It's very cost effective. The alternative is replacing an entire sidewalk,” City Public Works director Frank Baugh said. “It's almost not noticeable when they are finished.”

Uncommitted funds of $13,000 will go towards the project's contract balance. Baugh said it could be completed by the end of the month.

• July 4th Fireworks contract approved

Council agreed on a contract for the Independence Day fireworks display. 

The city is funding the entire cost of the show happening June 30 prior to the Thursday holiday.

Formerly, the municipality aided in the July 4th fireworks event held at the Milledgeville Mall over the last two years.  The city's cost was $1,500 out of $8,000 total for the 17-minute show handled by Pyrotechnico.

City officials suggested the city brunt the entire cost of the show as a form of community giving. 

• City Surplus transfers

Council approved conveyance of 50 to 100 used computers to Digital Bridges. 

City manager Barry Jarrett said Digital Bridges would clean the computers of old information and move them to needy families. 

The city will formulate a list from the housing authority, according to Jarrett.

Councilwoman Denese Shinholster, District 3, asked if some of the computers would go to senior citizens. 

“We have a tendency to overlook them in the community,” Shinholster said. “That's why I'm concerned about making sure senior citizens are on that list.”

Jarrett will inform Council of the ongoing computer process.

“We will bring back to you a procedure for how it's being done because part of this is that I'd like to see the individuals do a certain amount of training before the computers are actually passed to them,” the city manager said.

In addition, the city agreed to convey surplus chairs to the Baldwin Unit of the Boys and Girls Club. One surplus vehicle designated by Jarrett is going to the Baldwin County School District as well.

• Budget approved

Council adopted the balanced fiscal year 2014 annual operating budget of $12.5 million. The City of Milledgeville chose to redirect just more than $3 million from the Water and Sewer and Solid Waste funds to address the difference in general fund revenues and expenditures for the coming fiscal year.

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