Town Park needs city funding
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Madison officials indicated at a budget hearing last week that there would be funding in the 2009 city budget for the new Town Park. The city council could finance as much as $1.3 million for the park, which is the difference between the amount of money raised for the park and the final cost of land acquisition, development and construction or renovation of several park structures. Total cost of the one-square-block park in downtown Madison is expected to come in at just over $3 million. “There will be funding in the budget for the new park,” said Madison City Manager David Nunn. “We anticipate that the council will support the [Downtown Development Authority (DDA)] in completing the funding of the park.”
The park is being developed by the DDA, an independent city authority. The city, however, is the primary source of funding for the DDA, and officials have expected for some time that the city would step in to arrange final funding for the park if fund raising were not complete by the time construction on the park began.
“Fund raising will continue for the park,” said Nunn. The DDA is also continuing to explore a number of other options for paying for the remainder of the park, including grant monies. Currently, curb and gutter and parking around the park are under construction; Georgia Power is also in the process of putting power and cable lines around the park underground.
Work is expected to continue on the park through the summer and fall, with a hoped-for completion prior to the city's Bicentennial celebrations in 2009.
In other city news, council members agreed at a called meeting Thursday night to allow non-profit organizations in Madison to operate as private clubs under special circumstances, and per state law, that would allow those groups to serve beer and wine at certain events during the year.
Groups opting to operate as a club would be required to send personnel serving alcohol to state-organized training prior to utilizing the legislation.
The council tabled until June a further discussion of changes to special permits allowing the sale of alcohol, in order to become more familiar with recent changes to laws at the state level.