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City of Decatur will receive low interest loan to help pay for Children’s Home purchase

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City of Decatur will receive low interest loan to help pay for Children’s Home purchase

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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This story has been updated. 

The city of Decatur intends to borrow $41 million to pay for the purchase of the United Methodist Children’s Home, and some of that will be in the form of a low-interest loan.

The city announced on Wednesday that it has received an $11.5 million loan through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The interest rate will be 1.7 percent. City Manager Peggy Merriss said the city expects to borrow the balance of the money at a 3.5 to 4 percent interest rate. Those bonds will be sold Monday.

“We estimate that the low interest rate on the loan will lower the total cost by approximately $3 million over the thirty year term of the total borrowing,” Merrisss said.

The loan from the Environmental Finance Authority will finance the purchase of 22 acres out of the total 77 acre campus on South Columbia Drive.

“This project will permanently protect the land for the purpose of conservation and public recreation,” a press release from the Environmental Finance Authority says.

The purchase price of the UMCH campus is $40 million. The city plans to close on the property in August and UMCH plans to vacate the facility by the end of September, according to a memo from Merriss to city commissioners. UMCH Vice President John Cerniglia said UMCH will vacate the property in “late summer or early fall.” 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.

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