Forrest supes receive bids for former sheriff's substation

By HASKEL BURNS,

With the new substation for the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office up and running, members of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors are mulling over options for the former substation on East Pine Street in downtown Hattiesburg.

Supervisors recently received bids from two interested organizations for the former substation adjacent to Sacks Outdoors: $5,000 from Clark Technologies and $25,000 from No Good Deed LLC. Officials from Clark Technologies would transform the building into a service station/garage with a restaurant, courtyard and living space, while No Good Deed representatives said they would convert the facility into retail and loft living space.

“We put out a request for proposals to see how much interest we would get in somebody coming in a rehabbing (the building) and turning it into another downtown asset,” said David Hogan, president of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. “Rather than just selling it to the highest bidder or sitting on it for long-range, we’d love to see if any local developers are interested in having it and doing something with it and making it another asset to the downtown community.”

Supervisors are expected to make a decision at the next board meeting, which will be held July 2.

“The board decided that we’re interested in looking at some proposals from local developers (who will) remodel and/or add on to (the former substation) and making it a vibrant property for the downtown area,” Hogan said.

The former substation, which was used to service and fuel law enforcement vehicles, has been empty since the staff moved in early May to the new substation at the Billy McGee Law Enforcement Complex off U.S. 49.

“(The new substation) is open and functioning really well,” Hogan said. “We were able to use our maintenance employees to construct it, and the road department put in the parking lot, so we were able to do it for much less than what we believe it would have cost through a private contractor.

“It took a little longer, because our maintenance guys have to work on other general maintenance items, but we feel like we saved the taxpayers a lot of money in construction costs by allowing our own people to do it. So far, it seems to be functioning really well for the sheriff’s department.”