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Warm Reception for Downtown Watkinsville Plan

Judge David Sweat discusses the Watkinsville plan at a Sunday, Feb. 2 meeting.

Architect Robert Smith got a warm reception Sunday afternoon from the 35 people who turned out for his second presentation of his plan for a revitalized downtown Watkinsville centered around the existing courthouse and a new, nearby government building.

The crowd twice applauded enthusiastically and thanked Smith for coming forward with his vision for the county seat.

The most important endorsement came at the very end of the presentation, however, when Chief Superior Court Judge David Sweat stood to speak.

“I’m thrilled to see the kind of interest you have shown in this,” Sweat told Smith. Sweat labeled what Smith had put forward “a creative proposal” and congratulated Smith for his work.

Sweat said that he has taken the lead in the discussion about a new courthouse for Oconee County because of the needs of the judiciary, particularly for increased security.

As a result of those needs, Sweat said, he has put forward a request that the Board of Commissioners include $25 million for a new judicial facility in the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum now under consideration.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.