Barrow commissioners OK $4.5M cultural arts complex

WINDER - Barrow County residents and visitors can look forward to using a new cultural arts complex in a year or two.

County commissioners approved funding for a $4.5 million multi-use center in an intragovernmental agreement with the Barrow County Board of Education. County commissioners agreed to allocate $3 million in expected funds from the one-cent sales tax that will match the school board's $1.5 million contribution. The facility, designed by Carter Watkins and Associates, the county's contracted architect, will initially hold an auditorium and banquet facility/exhibition hall. Workers can enlarge the building as needed in the future.

The cultural arts center will stand at the intersection of Ga. Highways 53 and 316. In June 2006, the county purchased 275 acres there with the idea of developing an industrial center. Barrow County officials took out a 20-year, $15 million bond to pay the land's $11 million price, plus the cost of running infrastructure, like water and sewer, to the site.

The center will be available for meetings, exhibits, recreation, plays, concerts, performances and graduations.

In other business in Tuesday's County Commission meeting, commissioners voted to:

•Spend $121,500 to buy a Lee Boy paver.

•Spend $9,300 to replace the Sims Road guard rail and bridge culvert railing.

•Pay C. W. Matthews Contracting $712,800 to resurface and improve Bankhead Highway.

•Pay Dr. Richard Duffey a contracted amount of $161 per month for veterinary care for impounded animals at the animal shelter.

•Accept $28,327 in state funds to pave Caesar Road. The county will put the project out for bid to determine a final cost.