Baldwin County has extensive state property collecting dust. Groups like the Fall Line Regional Development Authority and the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority’s ambitions for stagnant land and buildings can’t advance without State Properties Commission (SPC) movement.
State Rep. Rusty Kidd (I-Milledgeville) and state Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) spoke Wednesday in this year’s final Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber Eggs & Issues installment about the conundrum facing local and state officials.
Jones said Central State Hospital’s 200 buildings fit perfectly into college expansion or private enterprise possibilities if the authority gains use.
“We’ve got to get flexibility from the state of Georgia with that property. Take the shackles off of us and give us an opportunity to develop this property to what we see as the best fit for this community,” Jones told the crowd at Central Georgia Technical College’s conference center.
Kidd said at least 130 homes at CSH, formerly housing nurses and doctors before the decentralization, suit the community setting idea touted as the future in mental health. As the Craig Center closing looms, Kidd said having one nurse check on a block of houses makes better sense than sending medical personnel all over town.
“Why can’t we use those houses for community settings?” Kidd said. “It’s better than letting them sit there and rot.”
The Justice Department’s answer is that houses currently sitting on campus state property can’t be used for a community group home.
Kidd places the Central State campus high on his legislative agenda. He said the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) must designate buildings as surplus with SPC before anything changes.
Jones echoed the frustrating sentiment surrounding local state property acquisition.
The final nine-mile Baldwin County Fall Line Freeway construction joining the long-awaited roadway with U.S. Highway 441 near the Wilkinson County border brought talk of a joint Fall Line Regional Development Authority (FLRDA) industrial park. At this point, vested parties can’t find a decent trading number for the land tracts.