Charles Miller is an attorney and also the founder of the Columbus, GA Concerned Citizens Forum, a social media site that popped up earlier this year. It soon became a place where locals came to discuss people, places and things in our community.
I confess. Sometimes the voices and the opinions posted on his site have made me cringe. But several days ago, Miller himself posted a provocative and thoughtful comment about the horrific flooding at the Columbus Government Center.
If you have read what he said — good. It you haven’t read it, you should.
His words are offered below for your inspection. Let me know what you think about what he said, what should be done about the damages and what people should be involved in the future of this troubled structure.
“I have been talking with a lot of folks about the Government Center situation. The flood this week has put the issue of this building in the forefront. I think it’s almost a given that Columbus will not approve a ‘new’ building. That seems cost-prohibitive. It also seems clear that maintenance has been an issue. We almost have to assume that there is another pipe waiting to do the same thing. We need to take the flood as an opportunity to see if this building can be brought up to speed and modernized. The old saying about how to eat an elephant seems appropriate — one bite at a time. Also, we have an excellent person to handle the repairs in John Hudgison. John is a smart fellow and we should use his talents. There are at least two (and probably more like four) floors that will have to be gutted and rebuilt. The City should use this as a test case to see if we can bring those floors ‘up to code.’ We can install fire suppression systems. Make the floors, particularly the restrooms, ADA compliant. Do the repairs the RIGHT way, see how it works (keep close tabs on what we spend) and build a ‘model’ of how to renovate this building a floor at a time. The building itself is structurally sound. Take the politics out of the equation and put the citizens’ needs first. I have been affected because of the Court situation although we are fortunate that Judge Gil McBride and others have worked very hard to keep the system available. Many other people have been affected as well. So — will we see someone, be it the Mayor or Columbus Council step up and use this as an opportunity to develop a plan to properly renovate this building? Comments? Suggestion? Please try to be constructive (bad pun I guess) about what we can do. Can we get input from our Councilors?”