Business owners wary about selling land to county - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owners wary about selling land to county

March 20, 2007

Thomasville--  Plans for a new courthouse have been in the works for years.  "The clerk of the court, probate judge, they're completely out of room and you know we've taken hallways and making office space out of those," said Thomas County Commission Chairman, Josh Herring.

Besides the need for space, security is a primary reason for needing an updated courthouse.

The historical courthouse will remain, housing several county offices. But just across the street a new, state of the art courthouse will be built.

The county already owns some of the land on the block where they want to build the new courthouse.  First they'll have to buy land from some of the other property owners on the block. The problem is, some of those business owners say they don't want to relocate.

"They said they wanted to acquire my property and they made me an offer which was not enough for me to move, to relocate," said Patrick Wilson, owner of J-Man Auto Repair Shop. 

He says he's enjoyed the location of his auto-repair shop for the last 8 years, and hadn't planned on going anywhere.  "They probably came up with a price you know, for a piece of ground, what this ground is worth. But its not worth that to someone that doesn't want to sell," Wilson said.

"We just got the appraisals back. We've got an idea what our appraisers say the property is worth. That's a starting point," said Herring.  Commissioners say they understand the value of an established business, and it may take time to negotiate the cost for the properties.

The sales tax approved last year in Thomas County will pay for the project.  Ten million dollars is earmarked for construction of the new courthouse and around $6 million for renovation of the old one.