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Decatur awards contract for study of East Lake MARTA station

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Decatur awards contract for study of East Lake MARTA station

Decatur City Hall.

Decatur City Hall.

This story has been updated. 

The Decatur City Commission on Monday awarded a $125,000 contract to TSW for study of the East Lake MARTA station.

Most of that money is coming from a $100,000 grant. The rest of the cost will be divided among the city of Decatur, the city of Atlanta and MARTA.

“It seems like a bargain,” Mayor Patti Garrett said.

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The study could eventually lead to redevelopment of the station. Currently the Avondale MARTA station, also in the city of Decatur, is being turned into a mixed-use “transit oriented” development. The East Lake study would include the MARTA station and the half-mile radius around the station, which the city says is underutilized. The station has 621 on-site parking spaces and only 39 percent of the spaces are used, on average. It is the second-most under utilized MARTA station in the system in terms of ridership numbers.

City Planning Director Angela Threadgill said the p’anning process will take about nine months to complete and the City Commission may have a plan for its consideration in April.

In other business on Monday, commissioners:

– Voted to approve a 150 percent pay increase for city commission members. The final vote on the proposal would be in August. Currently mayors are paid $500 per month, $6,000 a year, only sightly better than commissioners, who make $400 a month, or $4,800 a year. Those rates were set more than 23 years ago. The salary increase would bump the mayor’s pay up to $15,000 a year and a commissioner’s pay to $12,000. The pay raise would go into effect on Jan. 1. Commissioner Fred Boykin, who is not running for reelection this year, made the motion to approve the pay raise. Boykin recalled that when he was elected in 2001, it was much more difficult for people to talk to their commissioners. With the rise in social media and other forms of communication, that’s changed dramatically, he said.

“Back in those days folks either had to call you on a landline or you’d make an appointment to meet with them or they wrote you a letter,” Boykin said. “They definitely had to up the ante to get a hold of you.”

The vote to approve the pay raise was unanimous.

– Commissioners approved alcoholic beverage licenses for Savi Provisions, which will be located in the former Cook’s Warehouse space in downtown Decatur. The licenses include one for the sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption as well as the sale of distilled spirits.

City commissioners recently voted to change the city’s alcohol laws to allow grocery stores to sell liquor. The Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association, which represents liquor store owners, said it would fight the granting of the license. The city, however, says it has the authority to issue such a license, and the Buckhead location of Savi Provisions would appear to support the city’s position.

But the license application notes that liquor sales will occur in a separate part of the business.

Assistant City Manager Lyn Menne said, “There was nothing in the state law that limited our ability to change our ordinance. However, the Georgia Department of Revenue will only license the sale of liquor in stores that do not sell food products. A state license is required in addition to a local license. The new store will have a separate entrance from the street and be completely separate from the market area.  The original space was built with two entrance doors to allow it to be subdivided into two separate retail operations.”

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