LaGrange receives updates on projects at council retreat

Asia Ashley

April 9, 2014

The LaGrange City Council spent the day on Merrimac Lake in Senoia Tuesday during the city’s annual retreat.

To kick off the day, filled with discussion and brainstorming, City Manager Tom Hall updated the council on major upcoming projects for the city.

The Hamilton Road project, an expansion of the road from two to four lanes, is still awaiting the final signature for the environmental document. There had been a nearly 20-year delay on the project due to the drafting of the environmental document that must be signed off by state and federal highway officials.

After half a dozen public hearings regarding the project, Hall said citizens had begun growing skeptical about the Department of Transportation moving forward with the project, but Hall assured the council that once the signatures are received a final public hearing will be held.

Hall also reminded the council that the upcoming hotel in downtown LaGrange, to be built at the former Mansour’s building, is still waiting to receive the new market tax credit. The first mortgage is in place and TAD financing has been arranged. Demolition of the Manseour’s building should not exceed over $300, 000 and could be expected to begin as early as May.

On a less positive note, the city learned that funding for the Boyd Park amphitheater project is inadequate after receiving bids substantially more than the initial estimate.

The current bid estimates $2.5 million more than the project had funds for. The county promised $1 million in SPLOST funds towards the project to be matched with a $4 million grant from the Callaway Foundation. The bid came back at $7.5 million from Smith Design Group.

Hall said the city does not enough money for the project.

Council members inquired about the city’s additional SPLOST funds, learning that the city has $3 million from SPLOST set aside for pavement projects. Sidewalks are a part of the initial design concept.

The group also considered scaling back on some of the architectural aspects and detailing of the layout plan to eliminate some of the costs. Hall said the Callaway Foundation may be willing to fund more towards the project.

The Boyd Park amphitheater plan entails renovating the current facilities at the park with concessions, restrooms and having a stage area equipped with rooms for performers green rooms, star rooms, restrooms and a storage area. The landscaping would include pit in front of the stage area, tiered seats and green space for public space for community recreation.

In another project update, Hall said sewage and water pipeline fixes in on LaKeshore Drive and Country Club Road could take another five months.

Hall said most waste water from the northwest part of LaGrange ends up off of Lakeshore Drive and has caused problems now that the former waste water treatment plant is no longer and the area and the region is growing. The city has started working in the area almost a month ago to increase the pump size in the area and reroute the force main to the current waste water treatment plant. Hall said the pump station will also be electric and have back up generator to aid in the event of a power loss. Country Club Road and Lakeshore Drive will also be resurfaced to complete the project.

To read more about topics discussed during the LaGrange Mayor and Council Retreat, to include budget issues, transportation and recreation, check Thursday’s edition of the LaGrange Daily News.