by Robin Kemp
The City of Forest Park’s Downtown Development Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority will meet at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, at City Hall Council Chambers, 745 Forest Parkway.
The DDA’s agenda shows it set to approve the Jan. 20, 2022 minutes, followed by discussion of an economic development update and a DDA training opportunity. The minutes included the addition of an executive director, which was discussed in executive session, and an economic development retreat with the DA to get all the appointed boards on the same page. The retreat could be one night or a weekend, Butler said. as well as ending the practice of having identical members on both the DDA and URA boards. Election of officers and the official calendar of meeting dates for this year were postponed until March. The board also discussed whether to complete the mandatory eight-hour training independently or with an instructor.
Economic Development Director Bruce Abraham noted the status of several projects, including facade grants for Main Street businesses to upgrade their curb appeal; the 50-unit senior apartment complex; Azfar Haque’s renovation of a Main Street building that he wants to turn into a restaurant; a 20-townhome deal that fell through; a 34-townhome deal “near closing,” pending the DA’s approval; closing documents for the planned Zaxbys, which “has been designed with no drive thru on Main Street;” ads in the ATL Airport District magazine; the possible shrinking of the downtown Opportunity Zone “due to properties around it being sold at market value;” and three industrial sites to close at Gillem Logistics Center, with one business “under a non-disclosure agreement…set to close creating many jobs” and a proposed “park/walking system.” Abraham also suggested visiting a business incubator to see how Forest Park might offer something similar.
The big item on the URA agenda is a proposed subdivision for Gillem Logistics Center. Valentino and Associates of Smyrna held a video meeting with the city on January 31 to discuss surveying services, which would include:
- the perimeter of Fort Gillem, “specifically areas located along the south, southwest, west line north of Flankers Road, the right-of-way of Moreland Avenue and the common line between the Army National Guard property and the Park at Fort Gillem.”
- the 250-acre Kroger site, which would include both boundary and as-built surveys
- final platting of the property “in Phases, specifically subdividing the property in four quadrants, northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest with the submittal of Anvil Block Road, 800/900 Access Drive, Metcalf Road, Metcalf Road Extension and Flankers Road as separate dedication plats.”
The total estimate comes to at least $91,500. Williams later said the quote was “higher than expected. We will meet with them to determine if the price can be scaled down and present additional findings at the next meeting.”
Also on the agenda: updates on a military museum and water tank preservation on the old base, as well as approval of the January 20 minutes. At that meeting, Butler told the board that “a decision was made to separate the URA and DDA boards. Those currently serving on the DDA and URA may be asked to transition to the DDA, but new members will be selected for the URA.” The board voted to put off electing officers and approving this year’s meeting calendar until March. Abraham said Aerotropolis South had been doing a community improvement district survey “for businesses in the area.” City Attorney Mike Williams added an item on the Gillem Development Regional Impact (DRI), which would add a right-turn lane into southbound traffic on Moreland Avenue at Anvil Block Road. The Property Owners Association at Gillem would pay the $716,470.30 contract. The minutes did not say who got the contract.
As for the water tank and two cisterns on the old base, Williams said the system was “inactive” and that a Water Tank Preservation project was meant “to figure out how to preserve and manage the tank and cisterns going forward. The current water system at Gillem isn’t coming from or through the water tank or cisterns.” He added that three contractors from the Clayton County Water Authority “had been given to assist in the project.” The minutes did not explain why the tank and cisterns need to be preserved or why they were inactive.
The board went into executive session. When it returned, Nachae Jones made a motion that Nancy Howard seconded for the URA to sell Technique Concrete “9.5 acres of property behind the existing Technique Construction site for the purpose price of $20,000.” The matter passed unanimously. The minutes did not indicate whether Butler, who rents a home from Technique Concrete owner and newly-appointed Development Authority Chair Billy Freeman, recused herself.
Who is on the boards?
The members of both the DDA and the URA include:
Mayor Angelyne Butler, chair
Steve Bernard, vice-chair
Ed Taylor, secretary
Bernard’s and Taylor’s terms expire March 15 on both boards.