The City of Milledgeville decided to annualize the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) budget last week. In the monthly CSHLRA meeting Wednesday, Interim Executive Director Mike Couch said the total funding amount was within $3,000 of the authority's request.
City Council voted to amend its operational budget, adding $100,000 toward the CSH group totally funded by the city.
“We've been operating out of the goodness of the city. I think it's fair to say the city let us have our wings last night. We appreciate the support,” Couch said.
The CSH authority, with help from state Rep. Rusty Kidd, sent a letter to the state requesting $400,000 to fund the redevelopment. Also, Couch said Georgia College President Dr. Steve Dorman wants a January meeting to discuss the university's place in the campus master plan.
Discussion of an innovation center is the focus of the upcoming meeting. Coach said the Shaw Building, tabbed for use as a business incubator, is the natural fit.
In Couch's words, the board should hear Dorman's “vision of how Georgia College can work with us to create commerce, trade and opportunity in Milledgeville.”
Vice chair Dudley Rowe asked the board to approve the creation of a CSH Solar Committee to investigate the establishment of a solar panel farm. Rowe and citizen volunteer David Sinclair developed some early numbers after speaking with Georgia Power Company.
The concept includes panels on a 100-acre spot. While all figures aren't final at this early stage, Rowe said the farm could potentially generate up to 10 Megawatts.
The solar committee will meet with companies like Clean Energy Collective out of Colorado to sort out the co-operative planning.
In theory, citizens would buy into the co-operative and receive an energy cost reduction. Rowe said the solar farm is worth consideration.
“We need to establish a friendly, green environment in everything we do on this campus,” Rowe said.
Board member Dr. Stas Preszewski said grants for these endeavors are real.
“Some are matching, which basically take your cost to 50 percent. This gives you a decisive advantage. This is a terrific idea,” Preszewski said.
Darrell Davis, former laboratory director for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), mentioned the agency's interest in the Walker Building for an analytical training laboratory in October.
Davis said Central State suited the needs for a lab space dealing with numerous forensic sciences. The former director met with an interested DEA administrator recently.
Couch said having someone with credentials like Davis adds to the Walker project urgency. Davis intends to pursue funding before the end of the year.
According to the authority's interim executive director, the Walker Building is more than two years from becoming funded, renovated, equipped and outfitted for a laboratory.
“We won’t have the Walker Building done by the time he gets funding. He is very aggressive and has a vision. I don't think he is going to stop as far as this program goes,” Couch said.
In other CSHLRA news:
• Chair Quay Hurt Fuller announced Mike Couch as the finalist for the executive director position. The job application and resume must stay open for 14 more days in accordance with open records law.
• Request for qualifications are on the market. The board plans to have firm submissions in by Dec. 15 to advance master planning.
• Christmas Caroling on Dec. 4 hopes to draw attention to a more vibrant campus, according to Chair of Communication and Marketing Bruce Vaughn. Four local groups will lead the caroling as an introduction to the CSH annual Christmas program at 7 p.m. that Tuesday.
• A new website (www.developchs.com) was created by Digital Bridges with help from media and office manager Steffi Beigh. It features added tabs and links to current projects.
• The Culver Kidd Building could reopen as a hospital. Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Brad Owens has discussed an option of making the building into a prison hospital. Couch said the state could renovate the building for 10 percent of what it would cost to build another.
• The CSHLRA board is looking at making campus buildings independent from the old time steam system. Adding a heat pump to Chapel No. 3 offers a test case.
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