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.
DOT reinstates TE grant, work on Fairplay Street to begin
By Patrick Yost
The Bostwick City Council Monday received a $96,000 surprise by Bostwick Mayor John Bostwick.
Bostwick reported that a Georgia Department of Transportation Traffic Enhancement Grant (TE) had been reinstated.
The $96,000 grant will fund construction of a concrete sidewalk the length of Fairplay Street. At previous council meetings, Bostwick reported that, in large part because of the recent upheaval in the Georgia Department of Transportation, the city’s already approved TE grant had been placed on indefinite hold. Bostwick told the council that several attempts by himself and engineering consultants working for the city had failed to ascertain reasons for denial of the grant’s funds.
However, the city will now put the project to bid, and work on the sidewalks should begin by August, he said.
The city also approved the expenditure of $4,200 from the city’s general fund to construct three traffic control devices. Two will be placed on Fairplay Street and a third will be placed on Malcom Road. The devices will be patterned after speed control devices currently employed in the City of Madison and will measure 10’ by 10.’
Bostwick also reported that a $26,000 water filter attached to the city’s water system was now functioning. The filter will remove excess iron and manganese from the city’s water system.
Bostwick said the city had witheld payment for the filter until it could verify it was working. “It’s doing an excellent job...” he said.
By Jessica Blomquist
Morgan County commissioners met Tuesday for their regular monthly meeting to discuss a petition received in regard to a variance request for property located in Morgan County.
Randall and Sherri Moss, who live at 1569 Price Mill Road in Bishop, wish to replace a single-wide manufactured home which burned down on the property with a newly purchased double-wide manufactured home for Randall’s father to live in.
The double-wide home was built in 1989 and purchased from outside the county, in Maysville. This makes placing the home on the property against the Morgan County Zoning Ordinance which says that “a mobile or manufactured home that was not registered with the County Tax Commissioner within the last 10 years may not be moved to or used as a residential dwelling in unincorporated Morgan County.”
The fire department donated money to help the Mosses buy a new mobile home, which is in fairly good condition. The Mosses also agreed to do maintenance and repair in order to bring the mobile home up to building code standards.
Chairman Mack Bohlen said that by allowing the mobile home to be moved onto the property they would set a precedent. He also said the extenuating circumstances considering the original mobile home having burned down makes the case special.
Sherri Moss, who attended the meeting, spoke in support of her petition.
“I need to move my father-in-law in there,” she said. “He’s living in a motor home on the property right now.”
Finally, the motion to allow the double-wide manufactured home was passed by Commissioner Samuel Cathey and seconded by Vice-Chairman Ellen Warren before being approved by the entire board.
By Matthew Burgoyne
The Corridor Planning Commission met with the planners of the new Holiday Inn Express to recommend some changes to be made to the future development plans. Members of the Corridor Planning Commission approved a majority of the plans for the new Holiday Inn Express, which will be located off of Interstate 20. The purpose of the commission was to give conceptual approval to the planners of the new building structure.
Everything from the number of parking spots to the placement and disbursement of trees was discussed to ensure a final approval at next month’s meeting. Kevin Hall, landscape architect with Williams and Associates, and Ranjit Banerjee, a representative with Sidlivi Hotels, will take the recommendations made by the commission and create a set of final plans.
Though there is no rush on the final plans, they are needed as soon as possible to complete the project. Monica Callahan, Senior Planner for Madison, needs the plans at least a week and one day prior to the next meeting. As the staff representative at the commission, Callahan will distribute the final plans to each of the commission members to be looked over for final review. At the next meeting, the commission will vote to either accept or reject the revised plans.
Some of the revisions or recommendations that were made by the commission deal with the aesthetics of the new structure. On the plans, the trees were distributed evenly throughout the property, but this is not necessary.
Also, the shape and entrances to the parking lot caused some concerns for the commission because of the odd shape of the lot. The designer of the new project will have to address these problems in the final plans.
Asks for Morgan Memorial to close in favor of Greene County facility
Armed robberies exploding in Madison
By Patrick Yost
An armed gunman robbed Burger King Saturday.
According to Madison Police Department reports, a black man, approximately 6’1”, entered the restaurant from the south side at approximately 11 p.m., waved a pistol at customers and employees and demanded money.
Reports state that the man emptied an undetermined amount of cash from the Eatonton Highway store’s registers, threatened two elderly customers in the restaurant to not move and then fled the restaurant from the same south-side door he entered.
Several employees and the customers at the restaurant said they observed the man flee the area in what they believed was a green Ford Taurus that had been parked at the Zaxby’s parking lot next door. Witnesses said the man drove northbound after leaving the Zaxby’s parking lot.
Witnesses also said the man was dressed in black, was wearing black gloves and had either a scarf or ski mask covering his face. An immediate search of surrounding roads was unsuccessful.
This marks the fifth armed robbery in Madison in the past six weeks. An arrest was made in two armed robberies but officers are still investigating an armed robbery at the North Main Street Golden Pantry convenience store and the West Washington EZ Bottle liquor store.
“We don’t see anything that leads us to connect the is to Golden Pantry or EZ Bottle,” said Det. Carl Jones, city of Madison Police Department.