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City: price tag for conference center less than projected
Cost expected to be $5.5 million for J.F. Gregory Park facility; bid is $4.8 million
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A price for the Richmond Hill Conference Center was presented at the Nov. 18 Richmond Hill City Council meeting. Council unanimously approved J.T. Turner Construction to build the 26,000-acre facility for $4.8 million, down from the original $5.5 million projection.

In addition to the price tag, council authorized consultant Kirby Glaze to approach banks about purchasing 20-year bonds to finance the Center.

Glaze said the plan is to have the center built by the beginning of 2011. He said foundation work is anticipated to begin within the next couple of weeks.

In response to a question from council member and Mayor Pro-Tem Floyd Hilliard, Glaze stated that this project will require no additional money from tax payers. In fact, Glaze said there will be an excess reserve from SPLOST payments that will help pay for the center after SPLOST runs out.

Glaze said one financial option would be to raise the hotel-motel tax from 7 to 8 percent as state legislators are slated to discuss the allowance of such a move. He said he would inform the council in the near future as to if that will be a viable option.

In other business:

- Realtor Cathy Butler Gregory asked the mayor and council if they had any details of the potential local environmental effects of the proposed wastewater treatment center in Liberty County. Mayor Richard Davis expressed his disappointment that the city was not notified about any details of the project.

- A conditional use permit was approved to a make way for a sporting goods/fishing equipment store to come the to Parker’s Square commercial plaza.

- A text amendment was approved to a make way for a variety/dollar store to come to the commercial plaza adjacent to the new Kroger.

- Final plat approval was granted to Kenny Patel’s tract near Hwy. 17 and Ponderosa Road. An unnamed hotel and a restaurant, possibly Dairy Queen, have been discussed for the tract.

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