Columbia County commissioners voted Tuesday night to approve a 10-year lease with the Family Y for operation of a facility the county will build near Grovetown.
The Gateway area, on Horizon South Parkway near Interstate 20, will be the site of a $6.7 million, 47,200-square-foot facility that officials hope to open late next year or early in 2012, said Columbia County Deputy Administrator Scott Johnson.
Earlier Tuesday, the Family Y board agreed to lease 20,000 square feet of the building for 10 years at an annual cost of $320,000, Johnson said. Columbia County will use the rest of the space for events.
"We're really pleased that the leadership of both groups have now come to terms and we can really start concentrating on getting the project under way," said Danny McConnell, president and CEO of the Family Y. "We can't wait to get it open about a year from right now."
After 10 years, or sooner if the Family Y builds its own facility in the area as planned, the county will take over operation of the entire building for use as an exhibition hall, Johnson said.
Part of the deal includes a land swap and donation that gives the Family Y just more than 18 acres next to the county site, McConnell said. The Y traded 8.6 acres of land it owns next to Marshall Square in Evans for 8.6 acres of county land, and the Carter Branch family donated 10 more acres.
That land will be the site of the Family Y's own facility in the future, likely including a pool, McConnell said.
"That's probably at the top of our list now for the next phase," he said. "We've got to get a pool built. At the very least, some type of outdoor (pool) complex, and long-term plans would be to have an indoor complex as well."
Also on Tuesday, commissioners:
- Approved installation of speed humps on Quinn Drive, Windmill Lane and Carriage Hills Drive in Evans but rejected speed humps on Deer Run, and increased the speed limit on that road from 25 to 30 mph.
- Approved rezoning of the 22-acre Mullins Crossing Phase II property on Washington Road in Evans, downgrading it from commercial to residential because of an error in the original rezoning from residential to commercial. Commissioners plan to properly rezone the land to commercial.
- Extended, for the third time, a temporary moratorium on rezoning for multifamily housing while development officials complete a study on the issue.
- Approved, under protest, a state-mandated change in outdoor watering rules that will allow watering during any day of the week as long as no watering takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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