County needs to find money for some projects

County needs to find money for some projects
April 26
08:53 2018

Forsyth County will need to come up with about $10 million to pay for construction of the new Kaleideum location downtown.

This was one of many capital projects that staff went over with county commissioners last week in preparation for this summer’s budget deliberations. Kaleideum was one of several projects that staff was asking for direction on how to fund. The others include an additional $1.7 million for the planned parking deck for the new courthouse and about $9 million for replacing the public safety radio system.

County Commissioners committed $17 million for a new Kaleideum museum on the site of the former Sheriff’s Office on downtown Third Street. The money is supposed to come from county property sales but, so far, that’s fallen short by $10 million. County Manager Dudley Watts said it was expected that it would take a long period of time to get $17 million from property sales, so bridge financing was always a possibility. He told commissioners that they might need to do some interim borrowing and called it a “potential challenge.”

“I don’t have a lot of solutions for you, unfortunately,” said Watts.

Kaleideum was formed from the merger of the downtown Children’s Museum and SciWorks, a children’s science museum located on Hanes Mill Road. Both currently operate in their separate locations under the Kaleideum name. The planned new museum would put them both in one 70,000 square foot facility.

Kaleideum is currently raising $10 million for exhibits. In February, commissioners approved pre-construction work for the new museum to evaluate the site and estimate construction costs.
Replacing the aging public safety radio system is estimated to cost between $18.5 million and $19.7 million, split between the city and county. The City of Winston has put $9 million for the public safety radio system in a proposed bond referendum it plans to put on the ballot for November. The county is working on options on where its half would come from.

The new $120 million Hall of Justice is planned to be built in an empty lot beside the County Government Center on Chestnut Street with the courthouse offices being built across the street in a separate building. The parking for the court will actually be a new deck that’ll be built at the corner of First and Chestnut. It’ll take an additional $1.7 million to build a deck big enough to accommodate growth and public parking, which may come out of existing funds the county has.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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