Decatur city manager: ‘not a chance’ of terminating Cousins contract

Though admitting she doesn’t speak for the city commission, Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss said the city still wants a mixed-use development on the Callaway Building site just south of downtown.

In recent weeks, city commission candidate John Ridley has gone before the commission twice and the school board once calling for an “amicable termination” of the city’s contract with developer Cousins Properties so the site can be turned over to City Schools Decatur.

“Given my interpretation of the contract,” Merriss said, “there’s no way we can terminate it without financial repercussions.”

Although commissioners were disappointed last week after seeing Cousins’ initial plans for Callaway, Merriss maintains the city won’t scrap its partnership with the developer.

“I would say that there’s not a chance of going in that direction,” she said. “I’m pretty sure [the commission is] fully committed to re-developing that site into a viable project.”

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