Commissioners react to court order for LEC


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – There’s been a lot of activity around the old Law Enforcement Center. The Sheriff’s Office abandoned it because of mold and leaks. Augusta voters approved a million and a half dollars to tear it down and commissioners put that demolition on hold to allow movie makers to have their shot. Now a new plan for the building is coming in the form of an order from Superior Court.

Turning the old LEC into a Juvenile Justice Center has been an idea pushed for more than two years, but now city leaders are feeling a legal push to renovate the building for more court room space.

“I don’t necessarily agree, with that I think we need to have a discussion with him how we are going to be able to do it,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Judge Carl Brown issuing an emergency order telling the city to renovate the old Law Enforcement Center, and nearby elementary school into court rooms, to serve as courthouse annexes.

Saying the coronavirus is getting in the way of the courts being able to to the job. The order saying the city has to complete these renovations in 330 days and to pay the costs.

“I don’t know if he can order us to do that like I say I think that’s an overreach is he going to hold every commissioner in contempt who votes against his idea,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

Commissioners have voiced support for a new Juvenile Court complex in the next phase of the sales tax and understand Judge Brown’s wanting to get that done.

“I agree with him that it will be beneficial to the community if we have a juvenile law center he’s just looking for a way to get what he wants for his organization,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“What are we going to do, spend millions to reinvent the 401 Center it just doesn’t make it, it has no reasoning,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

City leaders have called a special legal session for Tuesday. Now the items to be discussed are not released publicly, but commissioners do say Judge Brown’s order will be up for discussion.

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