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Benches, sculpture OKd for courthouse entrance

CUMMING — Plans to enhance the entrance to the new Forsyth County courthouse are taking shape as the county commission agreed Tuesday to fund to several projects.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the design of several benches outside of the building, which is under construction in downtown Cumming.

The courthouse is part of a $100 million 1-cent sales tax-funded project that also includes a new detention center next door and two parking decks. The courthouse and jail are expected to open by mid-2015.

The five local Rotary Clubs have donated $25,000 for six granite benches, with the projected cost expected to come in under that.

The design for several metal public benches was also shown to the commission, but not put up for a vote. The number and cost of the street benches will be revisited later.

The commission unanimously approved a sculpture of Lady Justice with a 3-foot tall base to be placed outside the entrance.

“One of the sculptors that was interested in the job was local, his name is Greg Johnson,” said County Manager Doug Derrer. “We decided to go with [him and] an 8-foot sculpture.”

The Forsyth County Development Authority will contribute $50,000 from impact fees toward the statue, with any leftover funds from the benches going for the pedestal. The cost of the sculpture is $118,000.

The commission then voted 4-1, with Jim Boff opposed, to install infrastructure for a possible fountain with funding to range between $10,000 and $15,000 from the general contingency fund.

The infrastructure would need to be connected to a city of Cumming water line, and the fountain itself has not yet been approved.

The commission also approved 4-0, with Commissioner Todd Levent, absent to accept Research Air Flo Inc.’s bid of $120,350 for air-flow testing and balancing at the new courthouse and jail.

“That does include some assistance with commissioning and does include some overtime hours for them to meet our schedule,” said Donna Kukarola, the county’s procurement director.