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A chunk of Perdues $21.4 billion budget goes to Northeast Georgia projects
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ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue on Wednesday released his budget plan for fiscal year 2009, which begins July 1. The $21.4 billion plan contains several Northeast Georgia projects.

Gainesville State College would receive $2.4 million to design a three-story 130,000-square-foot academic building. Funding for construction would likely come in the 2010 budget. The building, with an estimated cost of $35 million, would be the largest on the Oakwood campus.

"We have been seeking this building since 2002," said Gainesville State College president Martha Nesbitt. "It is a building that we are desperate for on the Gainesville campus."

The building would house Humanities, Business and Continuing Education programs. Traditionally in state budgets, the issuance of design funds are a precursor to obtaining construction funds the following year.

Lanier Technical College would receive $5 million to construct a 26,000-square-foot building on it’s campus in Dawsonville. The budget also calls for $1.5 million for an auditorium at the Forsyth County campus, near Cumming. Both items were given a line-item veto by Perdue in 2007.

"I am very, very pleased that the governor recognized the importance of both projects," said Mike Moye, president of Lanier Technical College.

The Dawson project would be built on the site of the former Dawson County High School. The college currently teaches classes in a building that once housed the high school’s vocational programs.

The Department of Natural Resources proposed budget includes $1.9 million for the design of Don Carter State Park, which is located off Clarks Bridge Road in Gainesville. The state has owned the undeveloped site for several years.

"We had asked for those fund to be placed in the budget," said James A. "Jim" Walters, a Gainesville civic leader who is chairman of the Board of Natural Resources. "I guess that’s my going away present as chairman."

The park is named for Gainesville real estate executive Don Carter, who served for three decades on the DNR board and was instrumental in the acquisition of the 1,000-acre site, which would be the first state park on Lake Lanier. The park has more than two miles of lake shoreline.

Carter was pleased to know the project was moving ahead.

"We acquired the land about 10 years ago," Carter said. "They were nice enough to name it for me five years ago when I retired from the board."

The budget also includes a 2.5 percent raise for teachers and state workers.

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