Bibb County hopes to borrow more than $13 million this month, enough to launch a string of construction projects centered in downtown and east Macon.
A judge will consider issuing nearly $13.23 million in bonds through the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority on behalf of the county, which expects to spend less than $1 million a year paying principal and debt service.
That money would be split into seven different projects, including nearly $2.8 million to build a boulevard between the Wilson Convention Center and the Ocmulgee National Monument, while upgrading the neighborhood. A similar amount would go to streetscape projects in downtown Macon.
One of the most visible projects would also be one of the least expensive. Bibb County plans to buy the former Sears building at the corner of Third Street and Riverside Drive for $500,000, or about one-quarter the assessed value. The county would then spend about $1.25 million renovating the building to hold records from city and county governments, as well as offices for the State Court probation office and the Bibb County Sheriffs Office, which may use the location for its crime lab.
That, in turn, would free up the existing records space on Emery Highway, which would allow the Middle Georgia Regional Commission to expand. It would also free up space for Bibb Countys State Court and State Court solicitors offices to expand, which will be needed when a judge is added.
The county would also reimburse itself for buying the former Capital City Bank building at Walnut and Third streets, as well as renovate it into a tax commissioners office.
Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said the moves would help the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.
It gets us ahead of the curve of consolidation and lets us become more efficient, Hart said.
A court hearing on the bonds is set for 10 a.m. July 22 in the Bibb County Courthouse.
Alex Morrison, executive director of the Urban Development Authority, said the changes are critical to the future.
These are necessary improvements. If we are truly to kick-start consolidation, we need to have at least some improvement in the urban core, he said.
Though numbers arent final, the county estimates interest and other costs at about $3.4 million. Payments are estimated to peak at about $981,000, and would be paid by the countys general fund.
Buy the former Sears store for $500,000. Renovate for $1.25 million.
Build an east Bibb fire station for about $2 million, likely near Jeffersonville Road.
Buy the Capital City Bank building for $350,000 and renovate the building for $550,000.
Build an office and a rentable meeting space at Lake Tobesofkee, and resurface parking lots for $2.35 million.
Renovate and expand the offices of the Middle Georgia Regional Commission at 175 Emery Highway for $375,000.
Improve downtown streets, sidewalks and alleys including Cherry Street, Second Street, Cherry Street Lane and Poplar Street Lane for an estimated $2.79 million.
Upgrade streets to create a boulevard between the Ocmulgee National Monument and the Convention Center for $787,500. Acquire and upgrade housing and properties near Clinton and Main streets for $2 million.
In June, Bibb County commissioners voted on the plan, which the Urban Development Authority approved two weeks ago. If the judge approves the bonds, the necessary deals could be closed later this month.