Mercer University wants alleys near its campus, and in exchange offers Macon more in street work than the alleyways are judged to be worth.
A resolution authorizing that swap passed the City Council Public Properties Committee by a 3-2 vote Tuesday, with council members Elaine Lucas and Lonnie Miley opposed.
The alleys, 6,672 square feet just off College Street, abut the coming third phase of The Lofts at Mercer University. The alleys, between Centenary United Methodist Church and Alexander II Magnet School, are valued at $46,704, according to the Bibb County tax assessor.
In exchange, developer Jim Daws of Sierra Development Corp. offers to do work worth $71,344 to city right-of-way along College Street.
Hes going to spend more on our street than the alleys are worth, said Bill Causey of the Bibb County Engineering Department.
The city got a $1 million grant for work on a two-block stretch of College, including a roundabout at the corner of Oglethorpe Street, he said. The first work on that project could begin in December, and the proposal from Mercer and Daws will complement those plans, Causey said.
Its going to look good. Its just not something the grant was going to pay for, Causey said.
Daws offered to put in 560 feet of curb and gutter, 730 square yards of concrete sidewalk, eight street lights, three catch basins and 10 trees, according to a memo from Causey. Thats worth $24,640 more than the land in the alleys, according to the contract estimates.
Lucas was dubious about accepting work instead of cash.
Its not about Mercer. Its about setting a precedent, she said.
Miley said hed also rather have the money, to follow the citys standard procedure of requiring a straight sale.
Make it simple, even if we shortchange ourselves, he said. At least were being consistent in what we do.
Just minutes earlier, the committee voted 5-0 to sell two undeveloped alleys to swimming pool company ASP Franchising. The 8,901 square feet is valued at $3,738.42 by the Bibb County tax assessor, and thats what ASP agreed to pay, plus $500 for legal and engineering costs.
George Greer, attorney for ASP, said the company wants to expand its current location at 3986 Lake St. The firm already owns all adjacent land, he said.
Lucas wanted assurance that the alley closure wouldnt cut off emergency access to any other property. Assistant City Attorney Christine Helms said the alleys were never actually opened.
These were only on paper, she said.
Lowe Aviation wants to renew a lease for the site of a temporary hangar at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, and the committee agreed 5-0.
The previous lease ran for 10 years, but the new one is for five, with a 60-day termination clause, Airport Manager Doug Faour said.
Other than that, the lease is basically the same, he said. The cost for the small space is still $5 per month.
All three items are likely to come up for a final vote at the full council meeting Oct. 15.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.