Construction is expected to start next year now that the Family Y and Columbia County Commissioners have reached an agreement on a lease for a new facility being redesigned in Grovetown’s Gateway.
The plan recently went up for revision after initial construction bids for the county’s nearly 49,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility came back about $1 million higher than the $6 million in sales tax funding budgeted for the project.
In addition to sending the program back to the drawing board, county officials started renegotiating the Y’s lease for a smaller portion of the facility. At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a five-year lease with the Y that will net the county $1.3 million.
The Family Y board has already approved the rewritten agreement, said Family Y President and CEO Danny O’Connell.
“We’re ready to get going on it,” O’Connell said.
The lease calls for the Y to pay $12 per foot in its first year for a 16,500-square-foot portion of the facility, with that amount rising to $20 per foot by the fifth year, said county Administrator Scott Johnson.
The Y initially planned to lease 20,000 square feet of the exhibit hall, but pared it down to save money.
As of the sixth year, the Y would be able to continue the lease at market rates on a year-to-year basis, Johnson said.
Family Y officials have said they plan to build their own facility on a site adjacent to the county’s building within the next 10 years. Construction on the county-owned building is expected to conclude by next December.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners:
• Approved the annual renewal of 123 alcohol licenses throughout the unincorporated area of the county. The license fees generate more than $307,000 in revenue.
• Named Kathy Hebert, the circulation manager of the Columbia County Library in Evans, as the county’s employee of the month. The library is the busiest in the five-county region, circulating more than 440,000 books per year.
• Awarded the planning division’s annual Community Pride Design Awards for commercial and professional construction projects. The Arby’s at the Gateway Center received first place for commercial design, with a tie for second place to the office of Four Seasons Landscaping and the Shops at the Gateway. First place for professional design went to Pediatric Partners, with second place to Advanced Pain Management. The winners were chosen with online votes by county residents.
• Approved a rezoning from residential to special district for a church on Louisville Road; for residential to commercial for a parcel in downtown Appling; and from general industrial to town home residential for a 7.5-acre parcel in Evans.
• Changed the way temporary permits for alcohol licenses are granted to civic and charitable organizations, with the planning director and county administrator given the ability to sign off on such requests.
• Heard, for the second meeting in a row, complaints from county resident Jim Mayfield who said the strip development in Evans that houses 5 Guys Burgers and Fries doesn’t have the quantity and size of trees required by county ordinance.
Planning Director Richard Harmon countered that Mayfield was basing his criticism on a previous version of the site plan, which had failed to give the developer credit for existing trees kept on the site during clearing.