The Union Recorder

Local News

July 18, 2013

Mayor encouraged by state property initiative progress



“We can lease buildings for three years. We can’t renovate some of those buildings on a three-year basis,” Bentley said Wednesday. “The GEO prison is on a 40-year lease. We’ll accept that, but we have to have some kind of long-term agreement in order to do that. We are really hamstrung right now.”

The initiative’s delegation hopes this will pass in the form of an omnibus bill that packages together several measures into one or combines diverse subjects. 

The goal is to allow the CSHLRA to deal directly with the SPC, which will eliminate going back through the legislative process. 

Bentley said the group is “going to ask for all 2,000 acres to be surplus.”

If successful, the authority could search for state and federal monies to renovate vacant buildings to put someone in them.

Bentley cited House Bill 495 that didn’t survive this year’s General Assembly Legislative Session as another method for success. The bill would have allowed the SPC to better facilitate and increase reliability of state property conveyances outside of the General Assembly.

The Milledgeville Mayor said that bill hasn’t been abandoned. The SPC supports both pieces of the state property conveyance puzzle.

CSHLRA officials think opportunity for state agency relocation to the campus exists as well. The Georgia Department of Corrections and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities are two possible candidates.

Another key issue for the legislative initiative includes finding demolition dollars for correctional buildings to make way for a community solar farm. 

Three areas around the Scott State Prison grounds are targeted for destruction to make a marketable canvas.

CSHLRA Vice Chair Dudley Rowe said adding a solar farm timelines to the package presented to Deal next month could only help the cause.

Grant said the governor is aware of that initiative.

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