Decatur signs agreement to purchase United Methodist Children’s HomeThe Decatur City Commission pictured left to right, Brian Smith, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Boykin, Tony Powers, Mayor Patti Garrett, and Scott Drake. Photo obtained via Decaturga.com
It’s official: The city of Decatur has signed the agreement to purchase the 77-acre United Methodist Children’s Home property on South Columbia Drive.
The purchase price is $40 million. Mayor Patti Garrett met with UMCH President and CEO Rev. Hal Jones, and Debby Stikes, Chair of the UMCH Board of Trustees on Tuesday, April 25, to sign the document.
“We are so excited to keep this project moving forward and I am proud to be able to represent the Decatur City Commission in executing the contract that will start the process of making the purchase happen,” Garrett said in a press release.
[adsanity id=34994 align=aligncenter /]
Decatur intends to use the property as a public space and will also hold a community input process to determine the specific use of the UMCH campus. As part of the deal, the city has agreed to preserve the grave of UMCH founder Jesse Boring.
Stikes, the UMCH board chair, said, “Preserving the Moore Chapel and the grave site of UMCH’s founder Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring was very important to the Board, to members of our alumni group, and to countless others across North Georgia who partner with us in this ministry. We are delighted with the City’s support in honoring the memories created on this property.”
The Children’s Home has been in Decatur since 1873 and was established to care for children orphaned during the Civil War.
The city has had its eye on the property for years, but began conversations with UMCH in earnest back in January. It was never formally placed on the market. Once the sale has closed, the city will annex the property, which will take six to eight weeks. UMCH will vacate the property by late summer or early fall. People who currently live on the property will be relocated to “safe and appropriate housing primarily in DeKalb and Fulton counties,” UMCH has said.