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Courthouse beautification project taking shape
Sculpture, benches among the possibilities pursued
Work continues on the new Forsyth County Courthouse in downtown Cumming. Government officials and local civic clubs are working together on project to beautify the entrance. - photo by FCN file photo

CUMMING — Forsyth County commissioners have signed off on a beautification project for the entrance to the new courthouse.

The building, which is under construction in downtown Cumming, 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.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted 4-0, with Brian Tam absent, to allow staff to investigate possible artists who could create a bronze sculpture of Lady Justice for the entrance, as well as the costs associated with it.

Some funding for the project likely will come from impact fees collected by the Forsyth County Development Authority, which had previously approved funds for a fountain at the entrance.

However, that project was abandoned after it was discovered the land at the site did not perk, which meant a water feature would require an expensive drainage system.

Also during their meeting Tuesday night, the commission entered into an agreement with Forsyth County’s five Rotary Clubs, which together will contribute $25,000 to install six marble benches in the green space area outside the courthouse.

Mike Smith, a Rotary representative, said the benches alone will not cost $25,000. The clubs likely will want to contribute the remaining funds to a pedestal for the sculpture.

Since some of it’s coming from a Rotary grant, he said, the funding cannot be used for the sculpture itself. However, a pedestal would be an authorized use.

Also regarding the new courthouse, commissioners approved allowing Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Bagley to join with Forsyth County Schools to allow students to have input into items that will be placed in a time capsule.

County Manager Doug Derrer said the capsule will go inside one of the building’s front columns.