County brass convenes to plan another building

Real Estate Coordinator Debbie Taylor called a meeting this morning of directors and senior staff of all St Johns County Health and Human Services Center agencies as well as County Administrator, Michael Wanchick, and his two assistant administrators, Darrell Locklear and Jerry Cameron.

The meeting did not appear on the Health and Human Services calendar, or the St Johns County Master Calendar, however, selected individuals did receive invitations to the meeting; so large it had to be held in the County Auditorium.

Those who received an invitation to the “pre-design meeting of the new St Johns County Health Department Building” discussed the location, function, features and schedule of the new construction.

Mary Ann Blount, Director of Land Management Systems and Mike Rubin, Director of Construction Services, attended.

According to reports from the meeting, the design team and staff discussed the entire process — from initial programing of the spaces, relationship and function of the different agencies, construction and move in.

Many Historic City News readers have already complained about the way in which they feel the county-owned facility on US-1 South, that originally housed the St Augustine General Hospital, was negotiated and sold “under wraps”.

Many in the county were not aware that negotiations were underway to sell the property. For many, there was no knowledge of the transaction before the agenda for the county commission meeting November 1, 2011, was made public.

Locklear said that North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, based Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc., approached the County about the purchase of the Health and Human Services Center.

The county obtained an appraisal of the property — reportedly $7,836,000.

The county negotiated a sale of the property — reportedly $8,662,000.

The rub for those expressing an opinion was that there was no public advertisement that the property was for sale — no bids were solicited and some in the community say that there may have been larger offers; had the transaction been completed in the sunshine.

Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer

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