LaGrange City Council will chip in about $30,000 to fund sidewalks on North Carey Street, helping to beautify an area from Hogansville Road to Madison Place, a development under construction.
The city will use special-purpose, local-options sales tax for the project.
Doug Higgins, division president for America’s Home Place, which is developing the property, asked for the city’s help in conjunction with about $215,000 in improvements along the street, including a “pedestrian-friendly park atmosphere” with new lamp posts, sidewalks, landscaping and benches.
Councilman Willie Edmondson said he was in favor of the city’s contribution “in light of the money (the developer) is putting up.”
The sidewalks will be installed on the west side of the street and Higgins already has agreement with homeowners along Carey to improve individual driveways.
Higgins said the development, like other housing plans, has been a victim of the slow economy, but approval from the city a year ago to allow two-car garages on the lots helped four houses to sell.
Council also voted Tuesday to allow staff to pursue methods of acquiring property for the proposed bypass on the north side of the city.
Council had decided last month to put off making a decision that would allow staff to look at the acquisition of four New Franklin Road properties, up to and including condemnation.
The properties, at 1306, 1308, 1310 and 1312 New Franklin Road are owned by Rosalind Nation, and are proposed to be used in the extension of the LaGrange bypass, from Mooty Bridge Road to Davis Road. The New Franklin Road properties are included in a section that would align Waugh Road with Ann Bailey Way, creating a seamless drive from Mooty Bridge to Davis.
A lawyer for Nation requested in July that the council wait on allowing the staff to continue the acquisition until alternate routes could be proposed.
The house at 1312 New Franklin Road would be razed, but the others, which Nation rents, have occupants, and would wind up close to the right of way when the road construction is done.
“The impact on these families would be significant,” Jeremy Meeser, attorney for Nation, said. The tenants would likely have to move if the property is obtained by the city.
Mayor Jeff Lukken said the council’s intended action would have only allowed the staff to have “all options available” when negotiating for the properties and wouldn’t necessarily mean condemnation.
The council has the authority under its charter to condemn property for public purposes. The property is outside the city limit.
“Once the vote is taken, the city can do what it wants,” Meeser said.
Hall said the city has a meeting set up later this week with representatives of the property, but Tuesday’s action will allow the city to move forward if a compromise can’t be reached then.