Decatur’s city commission recently approved an intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb County that will help pay for green space improvements on the old United Methodist Children’s Home property. According to this agreement the county will pay the city $800,000 from the remaining proceeds of the Special Recreation Tax District General Obligation Bonds.
The city has 10 years to spend the money, which must be used on the 22.5 acres in the rear or eastern portion of the property. This section has been purchased through an $11,452,000 loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The loan stipulates that the 22.5 acres remain relatively undeveloped as a natural open area for public enjoyment.
Meanwhile the $800,000 must be used on one or more of the following:
- Construction of new walking, biking and or pedestrian trails.
- Improvements to existing walking trails.
- Preparation of master plan for green space areas and walking, biking and pedestrian trails.
- Removal of invasive species.
- Improvements for lake access, including construction of observation deck.
- Improvements to lake.
Decatur purchased the total 77-acre property in August. The city will begin creating a conceptual master plan for the site—mostly the front 55 acres beginning early next year, which should take about eight months. According to City Manager Peggy Merriss, any construction, renovation or redevelopment of the site could be phased over 10 to 15 years.