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Bill that could help city of Decatur purchase Children’s Home awaits governor’s signature

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Bill that could help city of Decatur purchase Children’s Home awaits governor’s signature

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 has passed the state House and now awaits the governor’s signature.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, confirmed to Decaturish that Senate Bill 124 has passed the house. The bill allows for the creation of a city of Decatur Public Facilities Authority.

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.

The Authority would consist of five members appointed by the City Commission.

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