Monroe OKs funding to finish renovations to Matthews Park, complete downtown green

Officials expect Matthews Park to be completed in 2021, town green in 2022

At last week’s City Council meeting, officials with Monroe approved the funding required to first finish renovations and upgrades to Matthews Park and then complete the proposed development of the downtown green. The plan approved would not use any monies borrowed from Georgia Municipal Association, as had been discussed at the work session, but instead to use a line-of-credit from the city’s utility Municipal Competitive Trust – effectively lending money to itself.

“The $2.5 million loan from our Utility MCT reserve funds to the General Fund Reserves is for use as an Advanced Project Capital Reserve Account (Assigned Reserves) intended solely for us ensuring our Downtown Green park project is “shovel ready” later this year, once we finish engineering and bid the project.  These funds will supplement existing SPLOST funds earmarked more broadly for parks,” Monroe City Administrator Logan Propes said. “The MCT is the Municipal Competitive Trust Fund which we use as an additional utility reserve account.” 

Propes said once the city awards the contract and begins construction on the project, SPLOST proceeds and other grant and donation proceeds will be used to reimburse the General Fund Reserve account. The General Fund would pay back the MCT fund as the city proceeds with the project.

“This ensures we don’t take on any further debt (no additional cost to the property taxpayers!) to accomplish our goal of building the Downtown Green park,” Propes said.

The MCT currently has reserves of about $17 million and a line of credit amounting to $2.5 million could be drawn on at an as-needed basis instead of putting the city into debt with GMA.

Monroe Mayor John Howard said he expected the city to finish Matthews Park by late summer or fall of 2021 and the Town Green by about the same time next year. The renovations and upgrades to Matthews Park would be completed before beginning the development of the town green.

“We are gathering bids for the various components of Mathews Park now to include another restroom, another pavilion, cleaned up walking trails, and a restocked pond (restocking pond is not a SPLOST eligible capital expense and would come from the General Fund). We will have these items completed this year,” Propes said.

Assistant City Administrator Chris Bailey said he would be working with the Department of Natural Resources on re-stocking the pond.

“They can bring in whatever fish we want,” he said.

“The Downtown Green will start hopefully around October-November depending on when we are able to get the engineered plans bid out and on agenda. The Downtown Green as fully outfitted with a restroom, amphitheater stage, splashpad, additional perimeter parking and sidewalks and is estimated to cost close to $3.2 million, however, we are hoping for less as always,” Propes said.

Click or tap on the image below for a 3D rendering of what the completed town green will look like.

Click or Tap on image above for a 3D rendering of proposed Monroe Downtown Green.

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