Lilburn DDA wins approval for land for baseball venture

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The site of an old sewage plant could soon be converted to Lilburn officials' dream economic development venture, after commissioners agreed on the sale Tuesday.

"We should be playing ball next summer," Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist said of the timeline to build a Big League Dreams replica ballpark, expected to bring tournaments and thousands of tourists to the city. "We have a lot of hurdles to get through, but this (decision) is huge."

While an appraisal set the value of the 37 acres, located at the corner of Indian Trail Road and U.S. Highway 29, at $2 million, needed environmental clean-up work totals $690,000, so the city's downtown development authority submitted a proposal to buy the land at its "as is" price of $1.31 million.

Councilman Thomas Wight questioned the value of the land and the project, although Crist said the cost of the land and development will be borne by private developer NDI, which is in negotiations to move forward.

"If you've got a good idea, bring it, pay for it, build it," Wight said. "Don't try to let the taxpayers take all the risk and walk away with all the profits."

The property, which is near the city's center and considered a key location for Lilburn's future, will remain in the hands of the development authority if the Big League Dreams project falls through, Crist said.

"We're pretty excited," Crist said, adding that he was warming up his arm to throw the first pitch. "It's an economic engine that sits at a very prime location in our city. ... It means a lot to us."

Commissioner Lynette Howard pointed out that the land is owned by the Gwinnett Water and Sewerage Authority, which approved the measure Monday, and was not purchased with tax dollars. The money from the sale will go back to the water system, which is self-funded by water and sewer customers.

"There is no use we have for this piece of property," Howard said, pointing out that other departments were surveyed to see if it could be used for a police station or park. "To get it out of the hands of the Water and Sewerage Authority and to get it back on the tax roles is a very important thing."


jack 3 years, 3 months ago

Bert Nasuti sends his best wishes.


R 3 years, 3 months ago

Build it and they will come ...


BuzzG 3 years, 3 months ago

The land should have been sold at auction. Have we not had enough of these non-competitive land deals in Gwinnett? The taxpayers (and sewer payers) of this area have a big bullseye on their back. Politicians see us taxpayers (and sewer payers) as naive and gullible. And they have the press eating from their hand.


LovinLilburn 3 years, 3 months ago

BuzzG: So if the City leaders had done nothing and the County sold the land at auction, any tax exempt use such as a worship center could buy it cheap and locate there or the land sits desolate and certainly not sending a message that Lilburn is open for improvement. Residents want property values improved and unless the commercial corridors are redeveloped, we are not going to see relief down the road. We must think long term and see opportunity in the challenges we face now. Doing nothing but waiting on others to do it to us is not an option.


Dubbin 3 years, 3 months ago

"We should be playing ball next summer," Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist said of the timeline to build a Big League Dreams replica ballpark, expected to bring tournaments and thousands of tourists to the city. . I haven't laughed this hard in years. This guy should be writing for Leno. Either that or in therapy for a delusional disorder.


kevin 3 years, 3 months ago

I guess the budget in Lilburn is flush with cash lately. Instead of worrying about water,airplanes, and keeping services cheap, they decided to blow millions on a stupid filed to play on. Like we don't have enough of these around town. Does Lilburn really think this will bring all sorts of money in town? Just look at the G-Braves. Ticket sales are not where we were told they would be. Youcan bet that some big developers are behind this and paying a lot of under-the-table money to the politcians to get this deal done. Nothing negative has been said by anybody in this government. Sure smells ratty.


Sign in to comment