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Hall commission approves building South Hall community center
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to begin construction on the Mulberry Creek Community Center in South Hall and to approve a lease agreement with Northeast Georgia Health Systems to operate the county’s primary care clinic at a board meeting Thursday morning.

The community center, approved with SPLOST IV in 1999, became a point of discussion at the commission’s work session Monday when Commissioner Bobby Banks proposed delaying construction for three to six months because of the state of the economy.

But at Thursday’s meeting, Banks made a motion to begin construction despite previous reservations after hearing from South Hall residents who were in favor of getting construction started.

"I have several reservations about the new community center. ... (But) with e-mails I’ve received since Monday from the taxpayers of South Hall, I’ve decided to support the center, and my motion is to build the center as soon as possible," Banks said.

The community center originally was budgeted at $4.4 million, but actually will cost $3.9 million. Funding will come from SPLOST IV and $680,000 in impact fees.

The commission also voted to lease the primary care clinic, which operates out of the health department, to Northeast Georgia Health Systems, which already contributes a great deal to the operation.

Hall County’s health department is one of few in Georgia with a primary care clinic. It charges patients on a sliding scale based on their income. It also serves as a doctor’s office for people who do not have a private physician.

The lease is a formal agreement between the hospital and the county, and no money will change hands. There’s no expense to the county and the hospital will not pay rent.

The lease is for a small portion of the health department building, allowing the clinic to do renovations and to control access. It will go into effect Wednesday. Renovating the 6,000-square-foot space will cost $180,000.

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