AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) With it’s old jail space and court rooms, the old LEC has caught the attention of movie makers who believe it ought to be in pictures. But only if it can escape the wrecking ball. But right now Augusta Commissioners believe it should not.
It’s been vacant for more than six years but the old LEC is not staying empty, it’s being used for movies convincing some commissioners its demolition would be delayed.
“I think it was a surprise to quiet a few of us up there. Even the person who put the agenda item out there voted against it,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
One week after a commission committee recommended postponing demolition, the full commission reversed course giving the green light to tearing it down. Even as movie producers continue to express interest in filming there.
“We just really heard we can’t get this in other places, this is very authentic. It almost looks like it’s still in operation. They can’t build that authenticity. Rhey’d rather have the real deal,” said Jennifer Bowen of Film Augusta and the CVB.
But commissioners are also trying to deal with space for Juvenile Court which is also interested in the building, or at least the site.
“Judge Brown has asked for space for Juvenile Court for quite a while and we tried to work out something and we’re still looking for something that will be compatible to the needs of the Juvenile Courts system and the judge,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
Some commissioners believe that can be done at the LEC. With the building saved from being torn down and available for movie crews.
That’s why some commissioners still want the the city to go on the record delaying demolition.
“I’ve already put it back on the agenda for January. We’re going to look at it again. We’re going to have more discussion because the very fact that filming has brought this year more than a million dollars into the economy for Augusta, we need to look closely at it,” said Commissioner Garrett.
Commissioners saying privately horse trading and politics did play a role in Tuesday’s decision not to delay demolition of the old LEC, but thanks to Commissioner Garrett’s action commissioners will be seeing this issue again in the new year.