The City Council approved for consideration an application to an Economic Development Administration Grant Program during the city council meeting Tuesday night, April 24.
The grant proposal application, due May 4, would give the city of Peachtree Corners funds to purchase the building previously used as city hall, instead of having a lease on it. The lease terms currently in effect on the second-floor space give the city the option to purchase the building at an undisclosed future date in 2018.
“An opportunity has permitted itself about six months ago, through the department of Economic Development Agency, that offers grants to municipalities for job creation,” said city manager Brian Johnson. “This grant was kind of presented to, I guess the city, through our business incubator saying ‘look you guys are looking to expand into that second floor, you’re adding new jobs, you’re making opportunity here for you to qualify for this grant.’”
The city has already submitted a pre-application to the Economic Development Agency to confirm their eligibility in meeting the grants qualifications. The next step for the city is to submit a full-scale proposal to the EDA for approval. The ultimate grant would amount to approximately $1.84M from the agency.
“If we got this grant, you will notice in this resolution that the difference in the purchase price of the building and the grant amount would leave a dollar amount of four hundred and sixty thousand dollars,” Johnson said.
The proposal met with no opposition from the council members or public, and was unanimously approved after city manager Brian Johnson confirmed there would be only a few stipulations attached concerning federal government interference with the funds.
“The strings of this grant, which there always are, [means having] to continue to operate in its capacity as an incubator for creating jobs,” Johnson said. “We couldn’t change that, versus if we bought another building we could turn it into whatever.”
In the event the city needed to sell the building there would be an option to do so, as long as the city then paid the federal government back for the full value of the grant. It would be a one-time purchase outlay from the EDA, not included in the operating allocation and therefore not affecting other funds given by the EDA.
“This is for the creation of jobs, and as long as it is pursuing that mission, it’s meeting that,” Johnson said. “We’re actually in this unique year where we’re eligible for more than they normally would give for the purchase.”
City council also approved the motion for the city manager to implement a 2 million dollar plan on emerging transport technology. Implementation of Programmed Autonomous Vehicle Environment technology will begin by the end of the calendar year, and is presumed to be a 12-month process from project approval.
The technology would be the first of its kind outside of the perimeter and metro Atlanta area, and is expected to attract technology-based and transportation-focused companies and investors to the city. More information on the project will be given Wednesday, April 25, by Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason, along with several key city leaders.
Other items on the city council agenda which were approved include the Alcoholic Beverage License application for Los Mexicanos Restaurant, a special use permit to accommodate a used auto sales facility, and for the elevation plans of the Town Center townhomes proposed to be built in the Peachtree Corners Town Center. The Town Center townhomes construction would not begin until Spring of 2019. It was also shared that more than half the townhouses could be fitted with an optional elevator.
In addition to the permit approvals, Tim Lee was unanimously approved to fill a vacancy on the Downtown Development Authority.
“He’s known, all around the state and the country, for the work he does to make things happen in business, and anything else,” said City Council member Lorri Christopher.
Rebecca Washney is a freelance journalist and fiction writer. She grew up in McDonough, reading, writing and reporting before moving to Kennesaw to continue her education. Rebecca earned an associate’s degree in health and human performance from South Georgia State College and is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University. Rebecca plans on attending graduate school for fiction writing and pursuing a career in journalism.