Habitat for Humanity seeks land for parking lot

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The LaGrange City Council considered a request Tuesday from Habitat for Humanity to acquire city property for a parking lot.

The 0.54 acre property is on the corner of Main Street and Morgan Street near the intersection where Whitesville Street and Hamilton Street begin. The property was one of the sites considered for the skate park before the location across from District 4 Public Health and Wild Leap Brew Co. was selected and is currently not being used by the city though some local merchants do park on the property.

“Below our property, at the corner of Morgan and Main lies a gravel parking lot that Habitat wishes to purchase,” said Sadie Pike, the Habitat for Humanity president in a letter addressed to City Manager Meg Kelsey. “We wish to utilize this as our employee and volunteer parking lot. Obviously, our customers need to park on site.”

According to the Troup County Board of Assessors website, the property is currently valued at $18,650, and Habitat for Humanity offered more than that to acquire the property.

“They are proposing to offer $20,000 for the property,” Kelsey said.

However, the city council was hesitant to outright sell the property for several reasons, including the fact that it could not guarantee that the property would in fact go to Habitat for Humanity if it sold.

“If the council wanted to go through with selling it, there is a process that we would have to go through,” Mayor Jim Thornton said. “We’d have to get it appraised, declare it abandoned, and I guess we’d have to take bids because we can’t just sell it to one person.”

The council discussed proposing a long-term lease to Habitat for Humanity for use of the property instead. The lease would likely take into account the upgrades made to the property.

“Alternatively, we could retain ownership of it, and negotiate some kind of agreement for them to fix it up and use it or something like that on a lease type basis,” Thornton said.

Councilmembers agreed that a lease would likely be a better option for both the city and the organization.

“That seems like a better option to me for the businesses and the location,” Councilmember Norma Tucker said.

The recent growth and possible future growth in that part of downtown LaGrange was also brought up during the work session though it was not discussed at length.

“With the Hamilton Road project coming in, and you don’t know what is going to happen when Great Wolf (opens), that could potentially be a very valuable half acre,” Councilmember Mark Mitchell said.

The LaGrange City Council is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Ave.