Bibb school district offers millions for sports complex, but will Macon-Bibb officials accept the price?

A photograph of an empty Ed DeFore Sports Complex after a game in 2011.
A photograph of an empty Ed DeFore Sports Complex after a game in 2011. jvorhees@macon.com

The Ed DeFore Sports Complex could be sold for nearly $4 million.

A $3.8 million price tag was mentioned Tuesday as an amount the Bibb County Board of Education is proposing to pay Macon-Bibb County for the 2851 Heath Road complex. The County Commission approved a resolution Tuesday to take the next step toward selling the school district the property located next to Westside High School.

The revenue the county receives from the sports complex would then be used to renovate Henderson Stadium, situated on Anthony Road.

The resolution approved by the commission committee did not have a dollar figure attached to the DeFore complex. But several leaders mentioned that the $3.8 million was the latest amount that the school district offered the county during negotiations.

That amount could change before a final agreement is made between the school board and County Commission, county officials said.

If the resolution is approved at the Feb. 6 regular commission meeting, a public hearing about the sale would be held.

The county would also solicit bids from companies interested in performing the renovations to Henderson Stadium.

The first set of renovations to the football stadium, at a ballpark estimate of about $500,000, could be completed this year to get the venue back open. Some of those upgrades could include restroom repairs and installing new fencing and lighting, Interim County Manager Judd Drake said.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas said that Henderson stadium could attract more events once it gets the much-needed facelift.

"Don’t just patch it up and say, 'OK, it looks better,'" she said. "We need to do more than that because nothing of substance has been done for a long time."

The county and school district also are partnering to build a multipurpose complex behind Hartley Elementary School on Anthony Road that would feature artificial turf.

The cost of that $1.5 million project is being split between Macon-Bibb and the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation.

Disability exemption

The commission's Operations and Finance Committee moved ahead an ordinance Tuesday that would allow for the disabled to be exempt from paying solid waste collection fees.

The ordinance, sponsored by Commissioner Joe Allen, would allow for homeowners to apply for a fee waiver if they are designated 100 percent disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Social Security Administration. The ordinance will be on the Feb. 6 County Commission agenda for a final vote.

Allen said Tuesday he was bothered that the disabled exemption wasn't a part of the original ordinance after commissioners voted to have it added last year when garbage and recycling services were switched to annual billing.

"Someone should have asked me about it before it just evaporated," Allen said. "I’m upset about it."

Residents who were denied fee waivers may be able to have the disability exemption retroactively added if they meet the disability requirements, Solid Waste Director Kevin Barkley said.