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February 21, 2013

Central State redevelopment discusses green energy

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) chair Quay Fuller urged community partners to remain with the board for the long haul. In seven months, the authority has credible ideas and concrete movement to advance job creation, education and economic development goals.

CSHLRA's monthly board meeting addressed green energy and the Craig Center Wednesday.

Executive director Mike Couch and City of Milledgeville's attorney Jimmy Jordan recently met with the deputy commission of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. They delivered the letter, signed by local and state government representatives, urging a pause from the imminent Craig Center closing.

“I think they are committed to closing the Craig Center Building, but what I heard was perhaps an opportunity,” Couch said.

Keeping the patients in Milledgeville community group home settings could be the best option. 

“For every four clients you can keep in Milledgeville that equates to 20 to 25 jobs. We've got to run this one as hard as we can. They know we are unified on this and at least need to have a conversation,” Couch said.

DBHDD requested a follow up meeting in 10 days.

Green Initiative Committee chair David Sinclair updated various project concepts with the community solar farm becoming the most immediately realistic.

A new entity, Solar Zones, LLC, will form a joint venture agreement with CSHLRA to complete a 125-acre solar farm. 

Clearing three empty Department of Corrections and several smaller workshop buildings makes way for the community solar panel farm, according to Sinclair.

Before any demolition or construction, the Georgia State Properties Commission has to pass on the property assets to the CSHLRA. Georgia Power must also grant the allocation through their Advanced Solar Initiative. 

BCH Sustainable Energy, LLC will apply to Georgia Power on behalf of Solar Zones.

The proposed allocation includes 1 megawatt growing to 20 megawatts over a five-year period. A single megawatt equals 3,500 panels costing $1.7 million.

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