Lilburn to study complex

LILBURN -- Appearing before a standing-room-only crowd of homeowners Monday night, the Lilburn City Council took a major league step in the process of seeing whether the construction of a new $20 million sports complex for travel baseball teams is feasible within the city limits.

The Council approved a license agreement to grant a 100 percent refundable payment of $450,000 in SPLOST money to Big League Dreams USA, sports park operators, for the study to determine the possibility of building six baseball fields and parking on approximately 40 acres of property at the old Jackson Creek Sewer Treatment Plant at Indian Trail-Lilburn Road near U.S. Highway 29.

"I want to commend you on the process you are beginning," said Gerald McDowell, a community improvement official. "I encourage you to seize this opportunity. National restaurant chains are interested in this process, and you are going to help businesses that are already here."

It's estimated that it will take 12 to 18 months to complete the feasibility study. Tournament travel teams as well as local squads from Gwinnett, Cherokee and Cobb counties are expected to play at the new facility. If built, the sports operators could not build another complex within 20 miles of Lilburn.

Mike Smith, representing Lilburn homeowners, presented the Council with a list of 30 questions in regard to construction of the facility. Councilman Eddie Price said these questions would be considered by the council and taken up at the mayor's update session Oct. 19.

"We're happy to see that you're doing your homework first," Smith said.

Big League Dreams operates 10 facilities around the country.

Thomas White was one of several homeowners to speak against construction of the project.

"My concern is that our parks are under-utilized now, and adding more baseball facilities are going to make more under-utilized space," he said, adding that tournaments currently are played at Mountain Park and other fields.

Several homeowners expressed concern over the possibility of spending $20 million on ball fields, and on giving Big League Dreams a zero percent loan for a year and a half.

In other business, the council:

  • Named JMB Unlimited Electrical Services as the contractor for the installation of electrical service for surveillance cameras at the Lilburn Greenway trails at a cost not to exceed $19,325.

  • Approved the application of T-Mobile South to construct a 100-foot multi-tenant wireless telecommunication tower at 4875 Lilburn-Stone Mountain Road.

  • Granted a license to Las Arepas De Julia Columbian Restaurant to sell beer for on-premise consumption with Sunday sales at 4044 Lawrenceville Highway.

  • Appointed Seyfarth-Shaw, attorneys, as bond council and financial adviser for the city.