Last updated: September 06. 2013 10:45AM - 808 Views
Jennifer Shrader Staff writer

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The former CB&T Bank building could be the site of a new clinic operated by West Georgia Health if West Point City Council agrees to part of the plan Monday.

The bank had received a temporary structure permit from the city to locate the bank on East 10th Street and U.S. 29. The bank had to close in 2012, but would like to rent the building to the health system and is asking for an extension of the permit.

The bank had been in the building for five years and is requesting a five year extension for the health system. That caused at least one council member to question whether it should be extended that long.

“We will have had a temporary building up for 10 years,” said Councilman Jerry Ledbetter. “This is an extension on top of an extension.”

Ledbetter isn’t against the clinic, but reminded council that the city has ordinances and grants variances for specific reasons.

City Manager Ed Moon said the request had been modified to three years and the clinic expects to be in a permanent building somewhere in West Point before the time is up. In the meantime, other council members were pleased to see the health system come to the city. The former bank building, although temporary, is in great shape.

“This is a place people will be able to walk to for services,” said Councilwoman Sandra Thornton. “The building looks better than a lot of buildings we have.”

Council also will vote Monday on creating an opportunity zone in the city’s commercial districts and approving a corresponding redevelopment plan.

No one spoke at a public hearing on the opportunity zone Thursday morning.

The designation from the state Department of Community Affairs would allow businesses who chose to move to or expand in the city to receive tax credits for jobs created.

The opportunity zone would provide employers with a $3,500 tax credit for each job created, provided the job is full-time and the salary is above $22,000 a year.

LaGrange City Council created an opportunity zone for the downtown-Hamilton Road-Whitesville Road commercial areas last year. Communities qualify by having areas of extreme poverty and blight.

The designation is good for five years and is meant to help “infill” development in cities, rather than new construction on a green site.

If the DCA approves the designation for West Point before Dec. 31, any jobs created this year in the zone will qualify for the tax credit.

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