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Lilburn authority to purchase former sewage plant property for $1.3 million

LILBURN -- One city's dreams could soon come true, with votes set next week to pave the way to convert land once used for a sewage plant to a tourist destination.

"This will be an extraordinary thing for the city of Lilburn," Mayor Johnny Crist said of the plans to a six- to eight-field Big League Dreams ballpark. "The city of Lilburn has been in a 20-year funk. ... We need a strong, viable economic engine to rev it up."

For more than a year and a half, the city has explored the venture, and a developer is in negotiations with the sports park company, said City Manager Bill Johnsa. An agreement is expected to come in the next six months.

This week, county officials will consider a proposed contract for the city's downtown development authority to purchase a total of 37.6 acres along Indian Trail once used for the Jackson Creek Water Reclamation Facility, which was dismantled after upgrades to the sewer system made it dispensable.

With a sale price of $1.31 million -- below the $2 million appraisal because of $690,000 in environmental remediation needed on the property -- the decision will go before the Gwinnett Water and Sewerage Authority on Monday and the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

Johnsa said the property is key to the city's revitalization plan, whether the Big League Dreams deal comes through or not.

"We see it as an economic catalyst for the whole area," he said, pointing out that the land is close to the city's downtown and that it would become a taxable property again, giving a benefit to the county.

While the city paid $450,000 in 2010 for an initial license agreement as part of the proposal, Johnsa said the city intends for a developer to pay that back, as well as buy the land from the city.

The project, which includes fields that replicate some of the most famous ballparks in the country as well as a restaurant or two, is expected to bring $15 million to $20 million in investment to the community and, with regular tournaments and events, bring 2,000 to 3,000 people to the community each weekend.

"This is a unique model," Johnsa said of the city's plans to work with the ballpark company. "In this economy, there is more of an incentive. You'll see more public-private partnerships."

Comments

HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

Is this the same city, who last year lost a 2.3 million $ lawsuit, over a land use permit?, Who asked the county to take over other city services, because it was in the red? Where did this money come from to buy land and build a park, with ongoing maintenance for its citizens? Citizens of Lilburn, you need to hold your city leaders, or should I say your city government accountable for its actions...

2-3k people here on tournaments? How many hotels are in Lilburn to house the out of town visitors? Wake up, this is not in the best interest of the citizens.(on a whole) just a few people who want to make money at the taxpayers expense.. We alreay built on Baseball nightmare in L'ville now LIlburn wants to follow suit?

Got to love all these small cities in our county, Spend(Waste) the citizens money for the politicians gain.

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BuzzG 2 years, 6 months ago

"One city's dreams could soon come true"

No, Cammie Young, these are the dreams of politicians. We people of Lilburn are once again the victims of a government gone wild with power. We would much rather be left to raise our families in a quiet safe community. That's why I bought here 22 years ago. But politicians have grandiose plans of their own and it is hard to get through to them. I guess once again on election day we will have to get out our two by fours and get their attention.

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apsLilburn 2 years, 6 months ago

Lilburn leaders, please look at what the successful downtown areas of Norcross, Duluth, and Buford have done and do the exact opposite. Pardon me for my lack of knowledge, but if this was a former Lilburn sewage plant, shouldn't the city already own the property?

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Mack711 2 years, 6 months ago

Do not a ask Duluth about the downtown success....... because their is no sucess there. Business come and go. It is a total mess in Taylor park when there is an event there. Parking is almost non existant and hard to get in and out of. Norcross and Suwanee did it right.

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

The sewer plant is GWINNETT COUNTY property... I hope Kevin Kenerly arranges the sale for your fair city.

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gwinnettresident1 2 years, 6 months ago

Oh come on guys. Its obvious that our tax arent high enough. Thus buying this piece of useless land can help raise them because we have to buy it....I want my part of the land dead. The idea about Norcross, Duluth and Buford are more my field of dreams...I love walking thru downtown Norcross and then stopping to have a lovely meal....Wake up Lilburn the Leaders (for a better word that wont get me kicked off here) have no clue what we need here....They want it to look just like Memorial Drive....It almost there folks

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jack 2 years, 6 months ago

Ask the folks in Gilbert, AZ and Redding, CA how their Big League Dreams ballparks have worked out for them.

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

“The math doesn’t work on this,” said Tom Jenney, president of government watchdog Americans for Prosperity. “Taxpayers are not getting a good deal.”

Jenney warned about the project before it was built.

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/gilbert/millions-in-losses-still-plague-big-league-dreams-ballpark-in-gilbert#ixzz1pWdKYZOj

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

PEOPLE- CITIZENS OF LILBURN.. HIT THE LINK ABOVE AND SEE HOW YOUR MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL ARE GETTING YOU GUYS BACK IN THE RED...

WHERE’S THE MONEY?

So far, Big League Dreams has not paid any money to Gilbert since the park opened.

The contract states revenue-sharing would begin after the first “partial operating year” and third “full operating year.”

Gilbert officials expected to start seeing money this spring. But Big League Dreams believes that the contract states that any revenue wouldn’t be shared until next year.

Both sides have been discussing the issue for months.

Gilbert spokesperson Beth Lucas said the two sides are making progress and hope to have a decision soon.

Read more: http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/gilbert/millions-in-losses-still-plague-big-league-dreams-ballpark-in-gilbert#ixzz1pWutsn2R

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

READ THE LINK THANK YOU JEFF AND JACK ABOVE... WAY TO WATCH OVER THE CITIZENS OF LILBURN AND GWINNETT COUNTY. We need a watch dog committee for every town in Gwinnett including the Commission.... www.peachtreecornersfacts.com

We are watching Peachtree Corners... start one in your town...

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GeorgiaPeach 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't know what y'all are talking about, I'm excited to see this project pull through. I'm absolutely sick and tired of seeing garbage lining the streets of my hometown. It'd be nice to see revenue besides El Torero and the Publix on Five Forks exist in our area.

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

That's just it - You WON'T see "revenue" and that's the problem ...

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

Read the links above about the group that will be coming to your town... before you make that comment. I agree it would be nice but the group has a history of not keeping promises.

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LovinLilburn 2 years, 6 months ago

For you opposing this project, it seems you are sorely misinformed. The city leaders have been studying this project for going on two years. Numerous studies have been done by the City, Convention Visitors' Bureau and now it appears the private sector has done their studies and sees potential. Note: private not public! So here we have two options: Option 1: The City doesn't buy the property and it sits dismantled for 20 years vacant and tax exempt sending a message of: We are not interested in anything changing here; we like it quiet, dead quiet. Or Option 2: The City works with the Downtown Development Authority to convey the property to a private entity who will work with the City's long term vision for redevelopment. A 25 million dollar property goes on the tax rolls and provides a catalyst for future ancillary development that will improve the commercial property tax digest event more. In the end the quality of life in Lilburn improves through new construction, new shops, restuarants, and a vitality that draws residents and visitors together to support our commercial districts, hopefully lessening the tax burden for all of us. Come on Lilburn, let's get behind this and leave our children a better Lilburn.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

Get off your high horse and read the link before you talk..The city leaders of Lilburn have put us in a whole with their thinking and leadership. 2.3 million lawsuit, asking the county to take over services and now getting us in debt by buying this pipe dream from the "Public" developer. Here is the link...READ IT...

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_southeast_valley/gilbert/millions-in-losses-still-plague-big-league-dreams-ballpark-in-gilbert#ixzz1pWutsn2R

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

It's the same lame promises that always pop up and later leaders say they were initially too rosy. Enjoy it, it may pan out, just make sure that the city has an exit strategy BEFORE assets are transferred or your expected payback gets redirected to CA.

Folks - the leaders really are NOT smarter than you are. Speak up, if they have solid logical cases you'll know, if not, YOU'RE in for a world of hurt. This statement from the above post really highlights it all - "hopefully lessening the tax burden for all of us."

HOPE and CHANGE Haven't we had enough yet? If this was truly a private deal, the county would sell the land outright to the developer, but here it's being transferred in a partnership of sorts so the city will apparently be on the hook in some manner down the road if it collapses, this ain't the 1980s. It's your MONEY, use it WHERE YOU NEED it.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

Do you really think this project will be in the citizens best interest? If so, I have some swamp land in Florida...No offense, but these endeavors only benefit a few greedy people and never help the citizens. Time will tell and if this blows up, your taxes will be increasing even more...

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Gundoctor1 2 years, 6 months ago

Hey, if all they want is a few ball fields, we have a really big one out here just before the Mall of GA. that we are barely using and is never, ever full. I bet 6-8 ball fields would fit in this place, and at least someone could get some use out of it. We don't need Kevin, this one is already owned by the taxpayers. ha ha ha.

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