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City Commission considers agreement to allow Decatur Legacy Project board to manage Legacy Park

Business Decatur

City Commission considers agreement to allow Decatur Legacy Project board to manage Legacy Park

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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Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission is considering entering into an operational management agreement with the Decatur Legacy Project for the operation of Legacy Park on South Columbia Drive.

The agreement would allow the Legacy Project Board to manage the operations at Legacy Park and implement the city’s master plan for the property. Any changes to that plan would need to be approved by the City Commission.

The agreement was discussed by city representatives in an Aug. 3 work session and its adoption will be considered during the August 17 City Commission meeting. 

Decatur Legacy Project is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2015, originally to oversee the planning of the city’s bicentennial celebration for 2023, but it shifted focus when the city acquired Legacy Park in 2017. The Decatur Public Facilities Authority purchased the 77-acre property which was formerly owned by the United Methodist Children’s Home. 

Even in its infancy, the park has already been a hub of community activity, including an orchard that was planted by youth volunteers earlier this year, the 2019 BBQ, Blues, and Bluegrass Festival, and a cross country track used by Decatur High School. The Legacy Board has partnered with a number of community non-profits. Two housing villages are planned for the property.

The city foresees the park management services including an environmental stewardship program, an arts program, a recreation program, housing development and operations, and grounds and facilities maintenance. 

Commissioners George Dusenbury and Lesa Mayer raised concerns about the budgeting for the operational management agreement. Commissioner Mayer asked why certain aging buildings were renovated and maintained. Planning & Economic Development Director Angela Threadgill said that the buildings had some historical significance as former buildings of the United Methodist Children’s Home and were still serviceable.

Dusenbury said he “wasn’t comfortable” with the master plan, but Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers characterized the plan as “executing the city’s vision” and operating off of parameters set by the City Commission.

“I would like to better understand the finances behind it,” said Dusenbury. 

Additionally, the city will recommend expanding the Legacy Board to add four community members to serve alongside city representatives. If adopted, the agreement would be effective from October 1st, 2020 to June 31st, 2023, when it would be reassessed. 

 

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