Warner Robins council approves memo for Little League headquarters facility

WARNER ROBINS — The Warner Robins City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Houston County, Houston County Development Authority and Little League Baseball Inc. outlining details of the deal that will bring Little League’s Southeastern Region Headquarters to Warner Robins. The vote took place during their regular meeting Monday.

In December, Little League officials announced that Warner Robins would be the headquarters’ new location. The agreement states the headquarters will consist of an administrative building, a stadium and a maintenance facility, which will cost a total of $5.5 million. Warner Robins will provide in-kind assistance worth $500,000. The Houston County Development Authority will allocate $250,000 through a local grant.

Houston County will transfer the donated 26 acres of land to the Houston County Development Authority, which will then transfer ownership to Little League Baseball Inc.

The value of the land is $867,000. The project also is being funded by a $598,640 grant from the state. Little League Baseball Inc. will be responsible for the rest of the costs associated with the project’s construction.

The in-kind work from the city would include site work. Public works director Joe Musselwhite said he was concerned about the city having the equipment to perform the work. Musselwhite noted the county owns equipment needed for the job.

“I believe the county needs to help us out.”

Mayor Donald Walker also informed the City Council during the pre-council session that Rep. Larry O’Neal planned to introduce legislation that would create a Warner Robins Public Facilities Authority, which would allow the city to engage in contracting with Robins Air Force Base and the private sector on the Georgia-Robins Aerospace Maintenance Partnership, or G-RAMP.

G-RAMP is a major economic development project to construct an aircraft maintenance and overhaul center on 544 acres of city-owned land adjacent to the base in Warner Robins.

The project is expected to bring hundreds of private sector jobs related to aircraft maintenance to the area just north of the base.

The city of Warner Robins has requested $72 million for the package from President Obama’s economic stimulus package. Gary Lee, executive director of the city’s redevelopment agency, said the creation of an authority could result in direct allocation of the funding if appropriated.

“They would ultimately be the owner of the project,” Walker said, adding that the body would be made up of the mayor and City Council.

To contact writer Natasha Smith, call 923-3109, extension 236.