From the City of Decatur just minutes ago…
On May 9, 2017, the Board of Education of City Schools of Decatur voted to purchase property at the corner of Commerce Drive and West Trinity Place from the Housing Authority of the City of Decatur for future expansion by the school system. The City of Decatur worked closely with City Schools of Decatur and the Decatur Housing Authority during negotiations to assure that a portion of the site would serve as an open greenspace park for community use.
Mayor Patti Garrett said, “This property offers an opportunity for shared park and green space in partnership with CSD that will be similar to shared spaces in Winnona Park and Westchester and at City facilities such as McKoy and Oakhurst Park. We are grateful for the support of CSD and the Decatur Housing Authority in finding a way to protect a portion of this site for community use.”
The City of Decatur will coordinate with CSD to provide basic amenities such as benches, picnic tables and trash cans but the space will remain primarily an unprogrammed passive open greenspace available for community use until CSD is ready to move forward with construction of a new building. The City of Decatur will work closely with CSD in the future as they develop an overall plan for the property that includes shared open greenspace on the site. Commissioner Tony Powers added that “we appreciate everything that CSD and the Decatur Housing Authority have done to move this agreement forward and are excited that there is neighborhood access to the site.”
The release from CSD (below) indicates that CSD intends to build an Early Childhood Learning Center on the property if College Heights is needed as an elementary school. Decaturish is reporting from the School Board meeting this evening, where the Board is deciding between two scenarios (in short, make elementary schools K-2 with less redistricting or keep as K-3 with more redistricting) to expand capacity within the growing school system.
City Schools of Decatur (CSD) and Decatur Housing Authority (DHA) are pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached on the purchase and sale of DHA’s property between Commerce Drive and Electric Avenue, south of Trinity Place, and north of DHA’s Allen Wilson and Oliver House properties. CSD is purchasing this 2.88-acre property from DHA for $4.4 million. The CSD Board of Education and DHA Board of Commissioners have approved the attached purchase agreement, and the CSD Board has passed the attached resolution. Pending approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the purchase will close in approximately three to six months.
We are excited about the potential that this property offers to the community. CSD intends to use the property for an early childhood center if College Heights is needed as an elementary school. This use will assist CSD in returning to one of the core purposes of our early childhood program–preparing economically disadvantaged students for a successful experience in kindergarten and beyond. Additionally, we recognize the need for green space in the vicinity of downtown Decatur and look forward to working with the City to develop outdoor space that can serve the needs of the school during the school day and the needs of the community outside school hours. Until the property is needed for a building, CSD will work with the City to provide basic park amenities, such as benches, picnic tables, and trash cans, so the community can begin using the space immediately.
As student enrollment continues to grow, the CSD Board of Education and staff continue to seek out land to proactively plan for future buildings and additions to existing buildings. In the last year, the Board has purchased land at Talley Street, houses adjacent to College Heights and Westchester, and the Board is still in discussion with Columbia Ventures and DeKalb County about land at the Avondale MARTA site.
CSD and DHA have a long history of partnering to serve the best interests of our shared stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing such partnerships into the future. The economic, racial, and cultural diversity that DHA brings to the community is part of what makes the school district great. DHA plans to utilize the proceeds from the sale of this property to invest and support DHA’s affordable housing efforts in Decatur, including the potential revitalization of the Swanton Heights community in the future.
Photo courtesy of Google Streetview