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City donates right-of-way

On Tuesday, the LaGrange City Council voted to donate pieces of property needed for the Hamilton Road widening project to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The property was requested by GDOT through an option of right of way form earlier this month, according to City Manager Meg Kelsey. According to the form, the city property needed for this small section of the Hamilton Road widening project consisted of 0.028 acres of land on Colquitt Street and Brown Street. The city received an offer of $29,400 for the property. However, council members agreed that after pushing for the multi-million-dollar state project for decades, it would be best to donate the property.

“My attitude is, we have been pushing and plodding DOT for years to get this project underway. They know it is our top priority as a transportation project to get the Hamilton Road widening completed,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said.

“They started right-of-way acquisition. They’ve got the money set aside in their budget. I personally think that in the spirit of cooperation this is something that the city should donate to the state, and say, ‘We’re not looking for the $29,000 from you. We just want the project to happen.’ We don’t want to slow down the project in anyway, and we don’t want to be nickel and diming the state since they are spending tens of millions of dollars on this project.”

Thornton said that GDOT may contact the City of LaGrange about additional properties needed for the Hamilton Road widening project in the future, and the council will consider those requests as they are made.

The LaGrange City Council has discussed the project with GDOT representatives on numerous occasions over the years and expressed a willingness on Tuesday to work with GDOT.

“We are very supportive of this project,” Kelsey said. “We want this project to happen.”

According to City Attorney Jeff Todd, GDOT has done extensive title work on the property and besides the small piece of property only easements have been requested from the city so far. The property currently sees little use, according to council members, but it does have playground equipment on part of the larger property that the 0.028 acres was part of.

The LaGrange City Council will meet again at 208 Ridley Avenue on Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m.