MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley updated the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) about the Central State Hospital Legislative Initiative during Wednesday’s board meeting.
The joint City of Milledgeville and CSHLRA strategy plans on delivering an actionable plan allowing faster state property access. Through a committee of key players led by Bentley, the initiative aims to have a decision briefing prepared and presented directly to Gov. Nathan Deal by Aug. 15.
“We are taking this initiative serious, and I think we’ve made a good bit of progress on finding a way to legislatively gain access to these properties,” the mayor said Wednesday.
The authority needs the ability to expeditiously access properties, either by change in Georgia statute or administrative rule, allowing true privatization of CSH real estate. Right now, zero hospital buildings are declared surplus by the State Properties Commission (SPC).
The state owns and dictates the use.
“To their defense, this is the way they do things. I’ve made a point that this Central State property is different,” Bentley said. “I doubt they have 2,000 acres of developed property in any other city other than Atlanta.”
CSHLRA Executive Director Mike Couch said the board wants help from the SPC that regulates, mandates and leverages all Georgia property assets and buildings. The bottom line is Central State’s 200-plus buildings aren’t market-ready under the current law.
“The goal in this is to allow us to actually deal directly with the properties commission, which will eliminate having to go back through the legislative process,” Bentley said. “If we are able to do this, we’d like it on a three year basis to allow the authority to do what authorities do and that is to search for building occupants.”
Allowing property sale or a long-term 40-year lease similar to the Riverbend Correctional deal are welcome outcomes, according to the mayor.