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Decatur Public Facilities Authority bill moving through the Legislature

Decatur

Decatur Public Facilities Authority bill moving through the Legislature

The former United Methodist Children's Home campus in Decatur. The campus is now called Legacy Park. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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The United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A bill intended to help the city of Decatur make an offer on the United Methodist Children’s home is moving through the state Legislature.

The state Senate approved the bill allowing for the creation of a Public Facilities Authority with 49 “yes” votes and zero “no” votes. The bill is now under consideration in the House. The Public Facilities Authority would be a  “quasigovernmental agency” that the city could use to buy property for public use. State Sen. Elena Parent is sponsoring the legislation and said it’s intended to help the city buy the United Methodist Children’s Home.

The Public Facilities Authority would be able to borrow money to buy the property without having to ask voters to approve it in a referendum.

The UMCH board recently voted to sell its Decatur campus on South Columbia Drive.

The city is considering the purchase of the 77-acre property as a public amenity and would incorporate the sports fields, pool and gymnasium as part of the city’s Active Living Department. The property value is estimated to be somewhere north of $30 million. Mayor Patti Garrett said she is confident the legislation will pass this year.

The Authority would consist of five members appointed by the City Commission. Here is a copy of the bill outlining the powers and duties of the proposed board:

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