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Forsyth County conducts inventory of facilities
Part of preparations for next 20 years
Forsyth

FORSYTH COUNTY — It’s no secret that Forsyth County will look much different in two decades. Just consider how far it’s come since 1996.

But in order to prepare for the year 2036, government officials began forming a plan last week.

The Forsyth County commission heard Tuesday from Chloe Jaco, a representative of CGL Management Group, on future land use for the county government.

“Forsyth County, I don’t think anybody is going to dispute, has had a lot of growth over the last 15 years,” Jaco said. “When you look at the last 10 years, [there is] an annual average growth rate of 4.8 percent … by 2035, the projected population for Forsyth County is 399,000.”

The firm worked with a steering committee made up of several officials from various county departments to look at how best to maximize the use of existing facilities and eliminate leases.

CDL recommended that the county pursue 18 renovation and building projects. The estimated cost of those is $90.1 million, which does not include land purchases.

One of the larger recommendations made in the presentation was attempting to find 20 to 25 acres for a new services campus, which would house the water and sewer, planning, engineering and GIS departments.

Other recommendations included uniting the health and environmental health departments into one building, expanding the mental health facility and finding a new, permanent home for the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office currently operates from the circa 1977 courthouse in downtown Cumming.

Part of the process was evaluating the condition of government buildings and rating them as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor.

The only building designated “poor” by the study was what is referred to as the Bald Ridge lodge, not to be confused with a youth shelter of a similar name.

“The lodge had some challenges,” Jaco said. “It’s a great location, it’s got some square footage, but of course it is reusing an old motel [and] just doesn’t fit with some of the purposes there.”

No action was taken by the commission following the presentation and it wasn’t immediately clear when the matter will be revisited.