Monroe to purchase property for ‘Downtown Green’

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Following an executive session after Tuesday’s City Council Called Meeting, Monroe officials voted to purchase the property that houses the old fertilizer plant on S. Madison Avenue between Church and Davis streets. The plans, officials say, will make way for more greenspace downtown for residents to enjoy.

“We do not have any concrete concept plans yet but will phase out improvements to the site over the next couple of years,” said Monroe City Administrator Logan Propes. “In the meantime, we will clean up and beautify the site and make it more useful to the public as a general, welcoming greenspace.  Eventually, it would make a great space for concerts, events, and other gatherings. We will likely install streetscaping, decorative lighting, nice landscaping, and maybe some water features in the future as funding permits.”

The property at 306 and 320 S. Madison Street, once home to the HMR Fertilizer Company. Photo courtesy of the City of Monroe.

Propes said a private investor had already placed a contract on the whole property when the city began looking into exploring the option.

“So we worked a deal and took assignment of the contract from them whereby we will complete environmentals and sell back the tract containing the old buildings and keep the greenspace parcel on the north end at Church and S. Madison,” Propes said. “The investors will keep the buildings for some other uses of their own choosing but it will be occupied soon.”

Propes said they hope to be able to use the next SPLOST (Special Local Option Sales Tax), to be voted on in November, as a funding source.

“It will be instrumental in helping reshape this ‘Downtown Green’ to help the city deliver quality-of-life enhancements to our citizens,” Propes said. “I believe the property will be a game changer for the entire eastern downtown area and will be enjoyed for generations.”

Conceptual plans for possible use of the greenspace being purchased by the City of Monroe on S. Madison Avenue. Renderings courtesy of the City of Monroe.

According to the motions voted on, the city will buy the 3.143-acre property from the Bank of Eastman for $750,000 with hopes of closing on it by Aug. 31, 2018. The city will then turn around and sell the 1.476-acre portion that contains the building to Monroe Business Enterprises, LLC, a joint venture between John T. Anderson and Melvin L. Music, for $475,000. The property will be submitted for application into the Georgia EPD Brownfield Program, a program designed to assist in reinvesting and cleaning up properties previously compromised by pollutants. City officials voted to pay up to $34,816 to  Envirorisk Consultants, Inc to perform the Brownfield Testing and application process on the property.

Conceptual plans for possible use of the greenspace being purchased by the City of Monroe on S. Madison Avenue. Renderings courtesy of the City of Monroe.
Conceptual plans for an extended area of Monroe Town Center. Renderings courtesy of the City of Monroe.

 

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