DDA closing in on W. Washington Gateway real estate
By Stephanie Johns
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) dealt with its action items in quick order during its November meeting.
The group went into closed session to discuss property acquisition within the West Washington Street Gateway.
Upon resuming the open session, they voted to endorse offers and authorize authority officers to execute the necessary bank loan and real estate closing documents.
A discussion of their bank loans with United Bank followed. They voted to refinance their loans: one loan for two Washington Street properties and one loan for a College Drive property.
City Planner Monica Callahan then suggested the DDA partner with the Madison Greenspace Commission in support of that group’s Georgia Recreational Trails Grant. The money, if granted, could be used to conduct an archaeological survey that could be useful to the DDA.
The group then accepted the gift of the depot from Norfolk Southern and have received a draft of the bill of sale.
The DDA will provide a building to replace the depot, which Callahan called a “significant resource.”
Callahan recommended the DDA partner with the Historic Madison Morgan Foundation (HMMF) who has “a great track record.” The HMMF could help the DDA raise funds to relocate the depot, she said.
She added that she would like the DDA to hire the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC) to do their Transportation Equity Act (TEA) grant for depot renovation funds.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation website, grants may be used to enhance the transportation system.
Callahan said the NEGRC will charge them between $2,000 and $3,000.
She predicted that they would not receive the grant for fiscal year 2013 but they may get it FY 2014.
DDA member Everett Royal asked about citizen access by the signal arms on Jefferson Street. He said he talked to Norfolk Southern and was told they could do the brick and asphalt while the arm systems are going in.
Callahan said it is in the budget to do it. The DDA needs to ask County Manager David Nunn to direct her to carry out that task. She added that they would use design money, not DDA money, to do it.
As to the timing of this project, Royal said it would take months, not years.
Callahan added that the DDA’s intergovernmental agreement ends in April but they will try to get it done by the end of the year. The group seeks to exchange its volunteer services for continued support.
She noted that the Opportunity Zone Workshop went “really well” last year and that they plan to target real estate agents and bankers this year to teach them about the potential benefits of the zone so they in turn can apprise current and future buyers.
BoomTown documents are online at www.madisonga.com. Click on Online Services, View Online Documents, Downtown Development Authority, BoomTown.
BoomTown, a historic redevelopment program aimed at “Building Opportunity On Main (BOOM) Street,” focuses on reusing existing, underutilized structures.
Representatives of that group visited in late October and shared their ideas for rehabilitating the Madison Gift Mart & Cafe, the BoomTown block, and McDowell Grocery Warehouse.
In other news, Callahan said that Startup Point should have the community’s assets mapped by the end of the year.
Nunn reported that the blue house at 408 W. Washington St. has been demolished and the basement area filled in and grassed over. The buildings on the old Miller lot will be demolished next.
Printed in the November 22, 2012 edition