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Decatur City Commission approves agreements for sidewalk projects

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Decatur City Commission approves agreements for sidewalk projects

Decatur City Hall.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Aug. 7 regular meeting, approved agreements for sidewalk projects on South Columbia Drive and Derrydown Way.

The city commission established a project budget of $200,000 and approved an agreement with AECOM in the amount of $176,335 for phase three of the South Columbia Drive multi-use path project.

The city commission unanimously approved this item and all other action items with a 3-0 vote. Commissioners Lesa Mayer and Kelly Walsh were not in attendance.

Phase three of the project will finish the design fronting Legacy Park from the park’s northern driveway to Katie Kerr Drive. It will also provide a mid-block crossing near the main entrance to Legacy Park and complete the connection to the East Decatur Greenway Path, Decatur Project Civil Engineer Jennings Bell wrote in a memo.

The city will also hold two public meetings to solicit general input and receive comments on the initial concept for the South Columbia Path.

The commission also established a project budget in the amount of $230,000 and approved an agreement with AECOM in the amount of $213,755 for the design of a new sidewalk on Derrydown Way.

“General input about a sidewalk on Derrydown Way was received at a public meeting in 2020,” Bell wrote in the memo. “Based on comments received, AECOM selected the southeast side of the street to develop an initial concept plan for additional input at a proposed second public meeting. The sidewalk will be designed to minimize impacts to trees and on-street parking where possible.”

During public comment, Derrydown Way resident Russ Brookshire asked the city commission to maintain the on-street parking on the street and to not install a wide sidewalk.

“The street itself now has quite a bit of parking so that is serving to slow down traffic on its own and these would also serve to take up parking spaces, reducing the amount that’s currently available,” Brookshire said. “I would suggest that if at all possible, there are ways that the existing curbs could be kept instead and simply an addition of a smaller sidewalk.”

The design of the sidewalk is still being developed, but City Engineer Cara Scharer said sidewalks are generally ADA accessible, which is about five feet. The city is not expecting to install a wide sidewalk. Mayor Patti Garrett added that the sidewalk on Derrydown Way will not look like the multiuse path being built on South Columbia Drive.

In other business:

– The city commission approved an alcoholic beverage license for Calle Latina for beer, wine, and spirituous liquors.

Calle Latina recently relocated from 406 Church Street to 627 E. College Ave, suite A in East Decatur Station. Owner Julie Rodriquez opened the restaurant in 2013 in Decatur. The location on East College Avenue was previously occupied by Mr. Everything Cafe.

“The city’s code of ordinances [does] require a resubmission of an application and an approval by the city commission for technically a new alcoholic beverage license,” City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

– The city commission authorized the city manager to execute an updated commitment letter for a tax allocation district grant. In May 2021, the city commission committed $438,100 in grant funds from the TAD to the Decatur Housing Authority’s Decatur East Phase II project, which will provide more senior affordable housing at 515 E. Freeman Street.

In September 2022, the city commission amended the grant to award it directly to the DHA instead of Decatur East Phase II, LP. This commitment expired in December 2022. DHA has received the low-income housing tax credits, but the closing financing has been delayed, City Manager Arnold wrote in a memo.

The commitment letter would be extended through Dec. 31, 2023.

– The city commission established a project budget of $120,000 and awarded a contract to T&J Industries in the amount of $97,916 for storm drainage and street repairs on Jefferson Place.

– The city commission approved an agreement with Georgia Power for up to $55,000 for LED streetlights. Eleven standard downtown Decatur post top streetlights will be installed at One Decatur Town Center, located at 150 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., and Two Decatur Town Center, located at 125 Clairemont Ave., Deputy City Manager David Junger said.

– The commission approved a contract with Southeastern Tennis Courts for $33,250 to resurface the tennis courts at Glenlake and Oakhurst parks. These courts are the most used tennis courts in the city.

At Oakhurst Park, the tennis court is experiencing some cracking and there are areas where the mat has separated from the concrete and is peeling up.

“These are becoming trip hazards, slip hazards,” said Kim Whatley, facilities operations manager. “Of course, it decreases our ability to have reservations and having people play and is decreasing our community’s access to this type of activity.”

At Glenlake Park, as people play on the courts, their feet bring water up from underneath after it has rained or when there is standing water on the court. The water causes the courts to be more slippery.

The city received one bid for the project. Southeastern Tennis Courts has done work with the mats before in Decatur.

“Unfortunately, Court Makers is the only other company in the state of Georgia that does do the mat resurfacing,” Whatley said. “At this point, they said their load of work is too large for them to even come and inspect and quote the project for us. Unfortunately, we are limited to a single bidder in this situation.”

– Chief of Staff Meredith Roark reminded the community that the general election is coming up on Nov. 7. Three seats on the city commission and two seats on the Decatur School Board will be on the ballot, along with referendum questions related to homestead exemptions and the special purpose local option sales tax.

In Decatur, the qualifying period for the election is Aug. 21-23 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m each day. The qualifying fee for the city commission is $360 and the fee for the school board is $35.

Mayor Pro Tem Tony Powers and Commissioners Lesa Mayer and George Dusenbury are up for reelection. All three have stated they intend to run for reelection. School Board Chair James Herndon and School Board Member Tasha White are up for reelection as well. White has said she will not run for office this year, and Herndon has not announced his plans yet.

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