Duluth approves money for city improvements

DULUTH - The budget gurus in Duluth are moving money here and there to keep the city on the upswing.

Residents soon will benefit by more sidewalks, street improvements and some refurbishing of the old Calvary Christian Church building that will be the home of the new Red Clay theater.

The financial moves took place at the regular meeting of the Duluth City Council on Monday.

One street improvement came by way of a $30,000 community development block grant from Gwinnett County for upgrades on Donnaville Street, according to the meeting agenda.

In other action, the council authorized an agreement between the city and the county to use $189,384 in funds from the 2001 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program to build sidewalks from Brock Road to West Lawrenceville Street.

At the same time, the panel gave the nod to $1,456,800 to realign Ga. Highway 120, the busy road that leads from Lawrenceville into Duluth, from Buford Highway to Main Street.

The county project numbers are F-0103 for about 1,300 linear feet of sidewalk along Hill Street, and F-0038 involving the realignment of Ga. 120 at Buford Highway and Norfolk Southern Railroad.

The council also amended the fiscal year 2007 budget to use a $30,000 high-priority grant to build sidewalks along Davenport Road, the address of the city's new public safety building occupied by the Police Department some months ago.

Money to spiff up the old church for Red Clay, which will hold its first production in coming months, involved transferring $70,000 from the city's storm water funding account to the theater improvements budget.

At the same time, the council moved $10,000 from contingency funds for a total of $80,000 to cover costs of seating, more required electrical work, awnings, an additional plywood layer for the seating area and enough money to cover stairs and a wall opening for the future orchestra pit.

Although final estimates are not in, enough money is being transferred to avoid future moves, according to the meeting agenda.

In other action, the City Council:

•Supported becoming a sister city with a town in Germany pending further discussions.

•Approved the annexation and rezoning of a 4.28-acre commercial tract on the north side of Buford Highway next to the Suwanee city limits and the development of 21 homes and open space to be incorporated into the Baxley Point subdivision, and

•Annexed and rezoned 5.481 acres from single family residential to highway commercial.