EDC to fund utilities to new dealership

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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The item was tabled, but the project is definitely a “go.”

“Project Walter” – the latest proposal being worked on by the Decatur Economic Development Corp. (EDC) – is a new dealership facility for Karl Klement Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, to be built along U.S. 81/287 north of town.

A $261,500 incentive package and memorandum of understanding for the project were tabled by the city council Monday evening at the request of EDC Director Jody Adams. But Adams still reviewed a few details with the council.

“This is the kind of project we love to see,” he said. “It’s an existing, long-term business, but it’s new construction and new jobs.”

Adams said the dealership proposes to build a $4.5 million facility that will retain the existing jobs and create 50 additional jobs. The EDC’s portion is to extend water and sewer lines 1,100 feet to the site, installing a 12-inch main at a cost of $239,500. The wastewater line extension will cost the EDC another $22,000.

Councilmember Jay Davidson, who also sits on the EDC board, said the extension will be adding sections of water and sewer line that are already in the city’s master plan.

Adams will take the proposal to the EDC board next Thursday, and it should come back to the council in two weeks for final approval.

Library consultant hired

The council did act on a proposal to hire AVerus Corp. to act as a consultant to the Decatur Public Library with an eye toward future expansion.

Library Director Patricia Peters said her board had met with two consultants and picked AVerus’s David Price as the one they wanted to work with on strategic planning for the facility.

“We’re in the fourth year of our current five-year plan,” she told the council. “The purpose of this is to develop a master plan – a road map for the future of the library.”

The consultant, which is based in Georgetown, will gather information and do a community assessment before developing another five-year plan that will include recommendations with regard to staffing, community programs, children’s services, computer expansion and development of the library’s collection. But the biggest item is the library’s facility.

“If we’re looking at a building project for the facility, this is the place to start,” Peters said. “We can look at expanding where we are, or what else to do.”

The need to modernize and expand the library, or construct a new facility, is driven by programming according to the consulting agreement. Space requirements, technology, the computers and the collection – as well as cost – will be among the key factors considered.

The cost of the consultant is covered already, City Manager Brett Shannon pointed out. The council put $7,000 in the budget, and Peters said the Library Trust board last year authorized $5,000 to cover the rest.

Water quality discussed

The council also held a required public hearing on the 2012 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report, with no one from the public in attendance.

They did, however, enter into a fairly lengthy discussion of the zebra mussel problem that is anticipated in Lake Bridgeport after the recent discovery of larvae in the water.

Public Works Director Earl Smith said the mussels would impact water taste and quality once they become prolific but would not cause any water quality issues as far as public health was concerned.

The meeting adjourned after 25 minutes.

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