Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
After eight months of construction, the City of Lovejoy is close to completing a new municipal complex that will serve as the location of its municipal court, City Hall, and recently established police department.
At the end of March, the city will open the new, 16,452-square-foot center to the public.
The grand-opening ceremony for the Lovejoy Municipal Complex will take place on Saturday, March 27 from 10 a.m., to 12 p.m., at the complex, which is located at 2296 Talmadge Road in Lovejoy. According to Lovejoy City Manager Sebastian Jackson, the ceremony will feature lunch, performances by the Lovejoy High School Marching Band and Lovejoy Middle School students, and a raffle for a Polaris Ranger 800 CREW all-terrain vehicle.
"We're going to be giving tours of the building to the public," Jackson said. "We'll have a ribbon cutting, and most importantly, for people who bought tickets, we will be doing the raffle for the Polaris Ranger, the proceeds going toward the Lovejoy High School Marching Band."
Since the end of last year, the City of Lovejoy has been selling raffle tickets for the Polaris Ranger in order to raise money to purchase new uniforms for the marching band. Jackson said that as of Friday, the city had raised between $15,000 and $20,000.
"It's exceeding our expectations and we're still out there, avidly trying to sell these tickets," Jackson said. "We're selling them at Lovejoy High School, our Community Center, and Lovejoy City Hall."
According to Bo Davis, site superintendent of the Lovejoy Municipal Complex construction project, when finished, the center will feature a foyer with a 28-foot-high, 36-foot-diameter rotunda; a 173-person-occupancy courtroom and council chambers; a 33-person-occupancy City Hall wing, and a 42-person-occupancy public safety wing. The center will have a total of 90 parking spaces, with private parking in the back of the building for city employees.
"This building is three times larger than the other [City Hall] building," Davis said. "It's a consolidation of everything. There is room for expansion and development in both wings. It was designed to meet the needs of the growing population."
Jackson said the city will likely begin moving the contents of its current City Hall building, which is located at 2601 Steele Road in Lovejoy, to the new location starting in the second week of March. The current City Hall location no longer meets the city's needs, he said.
Construction of the new complex is estimated to cost between $2 million and $3 million, Jackson said.
"We are just cramped," he said. "We have no room for storage ... there is no room for growth. When you drive past our old municipal building, you think 'old Lovejoy.' When you drive past our new building, you have to think 'new Lovejoy.' It's just a landmark for the position we are trying to go to."
Tickets for the Polaris Ranger giveaway are still on sale for $20 each. Those who buy five tickets, or more, will receive a complimentary camouflage hat featuring the Lovejoy city logo.
For more information about the grand opening, call (770) 471-2304.