Historic Preservation Board takes shape
The Thomson City Council last Thursday night named five people to the Historic Preservation Board for the downtown area.
The board members are: United Way Executive Charlie Bellman, Stephanie's Salon owner Stephanie Ivery, Local Historian Rusty Lovelace, Lee Anne Cowart Interiors Owner Lee Anne Cowart and Tommy Goodyear. The board members were assigned to staggered terms.
City council members also gave final approval to an ordinance establishing the Historic Preservation District.
The Thomson Historic Preservation Board's duties would include working toward identifying properties and areas that could be designated as "historical," reviewing renovation projects, holding educational seminars and seeking grant funds.
The primary purpose of the commission is to provide protection to historical properties.
Senior community plans change
A planned independent-living community for residents 62 years old and older is still slated to be built on 28 acres of property near the Jefferson Energy offices on Wrens Highway, but the developers have shifted the location of the actual buildings.
According to a letter from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the buildings will be shifted closer to the highway and closer to Pine Hills subdivision. City Administrator Bob Flanders said the property would include a buffer area between the independent living center and subdivision homes. The original plans for the property - which could eventually include shopping venues, single family homes and multi-family homes - called for the senior facility to be built closer to the Jefferson Energy offices.
BOE leases tennis courts to Rec. Dept.
Last Thursday, the local school board members unanimously agreed to lease the tennis courts at Thomson Middle School to the Thomson McDuffie Recreation Department. Bob Howard, Recreation Department director, said the courts are now open to the public from 5 until 11 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. on weekends. The courts will be open every day at 8 a.m. after schools are out for summer vacation.
Dr. Jim Franklin, assistant superintendent at McDuffie County Schools, said the BOE shared the responsibility of the tennis courts with the city and county "years ago." Dr. Franklin said the courts became rundown, and the BOE was the only department to pay for refurbishing them, so the courts remained locked up unless prior arrangements were made through the middle school office.
Because of this past history, a memorandum of understanding was created and signed by representatives of all departments, which states the county commission "shall allocate, annually, an amount of funds to go toward the upkeep of the tennis courts."
"We are asking everybody to take care of them, so the school board will continue to let us use them," Mr. Howard said.
Construction bids rejected
In their monthly meeting last Thursday, members of the McDuffie Board of Education unanimously rejected all bids for the construction of a new kitchen for Thomson Elementary School. Superintendent Mark Petersen recommended the board reject the bids because they exceeded the budgeted amount.
In 2002, the board voted to begin plans to have the kitchen renovated. $375,000 was budgeted for the project. Through the years and scope of planning, Dr. Petersen said the project grew into adding a totally new kitchen.
Bidding for the project was on Tuesday, May 2, 2006. Bids were submitted from Stewart-Corbitt, Inc. for $1,430,000, Salloum Construction for $1,636,000, and W. B. M. Construction for $2,345,700.
Dr. Petersen said the high bids reflected the expansion of the project and inflation in construction costs.
"To say the least, all three of the bids are way over the budgeted revenues for the project. ... I recommend the board reject the bids for the construction of the Thomson Elementary kitchen...and table the project until further plans can be made for renovation," he said.