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Lake City Report - July 16, 2010
The Old City Jail - Stay of Execution

From City Manager Wendell Johnson

Old City Jail Property.

During the past few months  a great deal of discussion has occurred involving the future use of the old City Jail and property. Council had declared the property surplus to the City's needs and authorized demolition of the jail and gas department buildings.

Due to community interest, Council later directed the Staff to assess alternative options and a "stay of execution" was authorized on the demolition.

Councilman Jake Hill and Staff met during early June with representatives of the Greater Lake City Community Development Council (CDC) to discuss and evaluate the possibility of the CDC's redevelopment of the lot.

The CDC has a strong interest in partnering with the City for redevelopment of the property which includes both residential and commercial units. They have secured legal guidance and have also retained an architect to sketch a preliminary plan for mixed use redevelopment of the property.

The proposed design

The proposed design consists of five single family units, most likely for rental to single family, elderly and/or disabled population, and four commercial spaces within the old jail, which include space for the CDC to move their office and space for a police substation. There will be 20 parking spaces including two for handicapped individuals, though that might be increased given the target population for the single family units. The sketch also provides for a small recreation area, which is subject to change.

The CDC is requesting City assistance via the Community Redevelopment Agency.  The CDC will meet with the USDA to see what programs are available that might be appropriate to help with the development of the Project. They are also asking for City assistance with obtaining a sponsorship for the Community Contribution Tax Credit program through the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development. 

This property could easily materialize into a viable redevelopment project which meets the objectives of the City's Community Redevelopment Area vision.

The City Staff Report is available in pdf format here.

Comments  (to add a comment go here)

On July 21, 2010  Barbara Jeffords of Lake City wrote:

The Old Jail may not be on the National Historical Register, however, it is of historical importance to Lake City and to Columbia County. To those who were involved in pressing the issue on saving this building, I commend your efforts and hope you continue your good works since change comes from within.

Personally, I like and enjoy looking at old architectural buildings regardless of their former usage. Economics and costs should be considered when salvaging a building. What is a difficult cost to measure and include is the intangible values, emotional values attached to the significant pieces of history.

Our society in the USA has been known to wipe out and start with a clean slate when it comes to building construction. Only change comes when people unite for a common cause and bring attention to the issue. Sometimes there is a point when it is no longer feasible, but first give it a shot.

My thoughts are to restore whenever possible and bring up to code. We do not destroy those persons with health problems---an attempt is made to improve the persons quality of life....why should a building not be given the same consideration.

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Read the City Manager's 2010 Budget and Administrative Report • here.


City Staff Report
 • Week ending July 16, 2010