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Thursday May 26th, 2016 3:18AM

Commissioners ready to approve partnerships for new government center

By B.J. Williams News Director
GAINESVILLE - As Hall County government employees begin to settle in to their new offices at the old Liberty Mutual Building on Browns Bridge Road, Hall County commissioners appear ready to enter at least two partnerships that should make the place feel more like home.

In a Monday work session, commissioners heard from Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix about a proposal to lease kitchen space at the new Hall County Government Center to Oakwood Occasions, a local catering company that will operate a cafe for county employees, as well as visitors to the building.

In addition to operating the cafe, the company would have larger space to operate its catering business, according to owner Dannella Burnett.

Burnett called the agreement a "win-win-win," since many of her employees are students in the Project Success program at Lanier Charter Career Academy.

"They're all at-risk students either because of the financial situation they are in at home [or] they may be at risk for drop-out," said Burnett. "They may be developmentally, physically, emotionally or mentally challenged."

According to the proposal presented to the commissioners, Oakwood Occasions would pay the county a $5,000 non-refundable deposit and a monthly lease of $1,000 for a year.

Commissioners also heard a proposal from Public Works Director Ken Rearden than could help alleviate potential traffic accidents at the front of the government building.

"We've got a dangerous situation coming out on to Browns Bridge if you're going to make a left turn and then go south on McEver," said Rearden.

He brought a proposal to the table from Free Chapel Worship Center, whose property backs up to the county government center property. In exchange for donation of an access easement across the church property to allow the county to build an access drive to McEver Road, Free Chapel would be able to use the parking lot at the government center for overflow parking on Sundays.

Rearden said if commissioners approve the agreement Thursday, then bids would be let for the project and the access drive could be complete sometime in early 2013.



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