Decatur closes on the United Methodist Children’s Home property


Decatur closes on the United Methodist Children’s Home property

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In purchasing the 77-acre United Methodist Children’s Home property, Decatur will preserve and maintain the grave of UMCH founder Jesse Boring, who died in 1890. Despite being plagued with ill health much of his adult life, Boring was a medical doctor, a Methodist circuit riding preacher, a gold prospector and a member of the Confederate army as a physician and chaplain. He also founded another orphanage — as they were called during the 19th century — in Macon. file photo by Bill Banks for the AJC

Decatur has closed on the 77-acre United Methodist Children’s Home, which has occupied the site just east of the city since 1873.

The UMCH receives $40 million from the sale. Given the financing structure Decatur pays a principal of $41,077,000, and a total of $61 million over 30 years counting interest. The city’s purchase breaks down into two parts:

  • Twenty-two acres are funded through a loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, administered by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. That loan is for $11,452,000 at 1.7 percent interest rate for 30 years.
  • Fifty-five acres are funded by bonds that sold for $29, 625,000 with a 3.36 interest rate also over 30 years.

The next steps include hiring a firm to facilitate public input sessions that will help create a master plan for the site. Those sessions should begin in January, with a plan completed by next summer.

Also, sometime this fall the property’s playing fields will get what City Manager Peggy Merriss describes as a “major upgrade,” which will take nine months to a year.

The UMCH is currently in the process of moving its roughly 80 residents into apartments in Tucker and Clarkston. The administrative staff will move into a Tucker office park sometime this fall.

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