See if you can guess this parcel of Bulloch County land. The vital statistics are as follows: 2.33 acres; land value estimation - $195,000; value of improvements - $700,000; tax appraiser’s assessed value $358,200.
OK, so you need another hint. Terms of endearment used to describe this property have included the Baghdad Hilton, the bombed-out-ruin in the historic section, and my personal favorite – the number one attraction on the crack addict’s tour of dream homes – need I continue.
Of course, I am describing the remains of the Bulloch County Hospital which until last week was a mere hollowed out shell of its former self. Now, promises issued by county officials have been met as the unsightly structure is “quickly” being demolished.
A new dilemma is now before the leaders of our county. What to do with the precious, empty rectangle of land in the middle of Statesboro’s desirable historic district. Hmmm. It is a conundrum.
I went to the source of all things administrative in Bulloch County, our county manager Tom Couch. I asked Couch if any plans had been decided upon regarding the soon-to-be empty parcel.
“There has been no formal decision made, but I feel like the board is leaning towards selling the property once the demolition and clean-up has been completed,” he said. “The plans for a new county administrative building there just did not work out, and we had to do something with it.”
Couch said there are no plans at this time to relocate the county’s administrative offices.
“We are going to make do with what we have,” he said.
Neighbors of the “old” hospital site have varied opinions of an optimum future use.
Walter Pease is a local pharmacist and partner in the Medical Center Pharmacy located on Granade Street. Pease feels the county’s plans to sell the property may be premature.
“I will be honest with you, I don’t necessary believe it is in the best interest of the county to sell something that you own outright,” Pease said. “I could see it being a great site for the veteran’s clinic that is being proposed. Those facilities dispense their own medicine so it would not benefit us necessarily, but it just seems like it would fit in the neighborhood.”
Ogeechee Area Hospice director Nancy Bryant said she is concerned about the traffic that might be generated by her facility’s future neighbor(s).
“The nature of our facility is such that a very busy, high traffic commercial or residential entity next to us would not be a good fit,” she said. “That really concerns us. A professional office development would be great or low impact residential.”
Attorney Rachel Edwards, a partner in Wright and Edwards, P.C. on Donehoo Street has not given much thought to the property’s future use.
“To be honest with you, I am so completely glad that demolition is underway that I haven’t even thought what I would like to see there," she said. “It looks so much better being demolished than it did standing there. That is kind of funny when you think about it. Hopefully good things will come.”
Until next week, I bid you au revoir.
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