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March 25, 2014

CSH redevelopment approaching full speed

MILLEDGEVILLE — When Ga. Gov. Nathan Deal signs two key bills affecting the Central State Hospital Campus over the next few weeks, the redevelopment authority board will receive the tools to become truly effective.

Mike Couch, executive director of the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) board, said when signed, House Bill 495 and Senate Resolution 788 or the State Property Omnibus legislation will open direct linkage to work with the State Properties Commission (SPC) on a case-by-case basis. 

Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley credited attorneys Jimmy Jordan and David Waddell for drafting the legislative language.

Couch, state Sen. Burt Jones and state Rep. Rusty Kidd made sure the bills were introduced properly and that everyone was on the same page. Former state Sen. Johnny Grant, now director of Community Engagement and Economic Development at Georgia College, was influential as well.

“This was a team effort,” Bentley said during Wednesday’s board meeting. “A lot of time was spent with those folks at state properties. This is what we were after. We can’t do anything without this legislation passing. The group can go forward with what they were charged to do.”

Couch said much of the successful CSH legislative initiative was “because (Grant) knew how to get there.”

The authority needs to access properties outside of the Georgia General Assembly’s annual sessions. Cutting 400 days off a transaction time makes the 2,000 campus acres “market ready,” while facilitating job creation and protecting an asset of all state taxpayers.

SR 788 will be used to declare certain properties surplus to the current missions of the Georgia Department of Corrections and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. 

The CSHLRA has operated since July 2012. The board consists of nine engaged community members and two ex officio board members — one on the city council and one on the county board of commissioners.

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