AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Six months after it opens, Liberty Plaza needs a $12,000 sod-lift


State contractors were in a big hurry to finish the state's new $4 million front door, Liberty Plaza, after Gov. Nathan Deal got re-elected last fall and immediately announced he wanted to hold his inaugural there.

Workers finished in time for the inaugural, and the facility was used for rallies during the 2015 General Assembly session, as well as for bill signings after lawmakers had gone home.

That's probably a good thing, because  the new plaza's infield sod has looked a bit  worn. Kind of like it was put down in southern Arizona in the middle of August and never watered.

But Paul Melvin of the Georgia Building Authority said the problem hasn't been the heat, or a lack of agua. The problem, he said, had deeper roots.

He said the roots got a fungus because of ponding of water on the grass that probably started when it was first put in during a rainy stretch last winter.

"They were racing to meet the deadline to get it completed," Melvin said. "We had some bad weather at the time."

The plaza was closed last week as the state worked to fix the problem, adding additional water drainage materials with the new sod in hopes of averting a repeat. The cost: about $12,000.

It would have been finished a little sooner last week, Melvin said, but the workers were delayed by, you guessed it, rain showers.

"I guess when we need rain in the future, we'll just start work on Liberty Plaza," he said.


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About the Author

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.