City Pledges To Help With Homeless Coalition

The night of Tuesday, August 23 was a very busy night for the City of LaGrange with all of its ongoing pieces of business and proved to be a very fruitful night for helping bring about positive change to the entire city. There are several positive changes that are making their way to the community, including the Great Wolf Lodge and the construction of the new downtown hotel. On this night, several items were brought before the council to be decided upon. There were two items of the evening under delegations. First off, Sheriff James Woodruff was on hand for a special donation. The Sheriff spoke on the repaired relationships between city and county law enforcement and how the pair are constantly working together to bring about justice for all the citizens.

Recently, one of the canines that worked for the LPD, Josh Clower’s dog Deek, passed away. The Sheriff’s office wanted to help share in the expense and presented a check to the Police Department for $5,000. Also under this section, City Manager Meg Kelsey introduced some of the members of the LaGrange Youth Council, a service that lets kids in the community come together to form their own governing body and see how the city works.

Under petitions and communications, the city took care of two items of business. Firstly, the council denied a claim for damages filed by a local resident. The case will be turned over to the insurance company. Also, the city declared that some items of surplus, mainly older vehicles owned by the city, would be able to be sold. This is a great resourcing of materials and benefits the city in great ways.

Under the reports section, the big ticket item was the update on the homeless coalition. Chief of Police Lou Dekmar has been spearheading the project and had a wonderful update on the project for all of those in attendance.

The coalition has been active for a few years now and is made up of several people that are concerned for the homeless in the community. The warming center last year received several complaints for various code violations and neighborhood complaints, but a new structure has been found. New Ventures here in town, an organization that is already helping with the homeless, has a structure off of Lukken Industrial and Whitesville Road, the old Custom Organics building. This building will serve as the new warming center for the community.

The coalition is now trying to raise a little over $55,000 to upgrade the property in ways that will house the men and women. For families, there is a local hotel that has agreed to provide rooms for no cost so that family units can stay together. The County has provided prison detail with supervision and has contributed greatly to the renovations. Many local organizations have also made contributions to the project and the Callaway Foundation has provided $25,000 towards the project. After hearing about this new central location and all of the improvements and benefits that it will provide citizens in our community, the city elected to donate $10,000 towards this project.

There were several items under resolutions on this evening. Firstly, there was a motion carried regarding the Urban Development Law Plan Area Designation, essentially saying the old Mansour’s track that the city owns is in need of re-development.

Next, there was a resolution carried authorizing the acquisition of a property located at 300 Country Club Road, an area that will be turned into a roundabout for the new Northwest Connector. Councilman Mark Mitchell abstained from the vote.

Finally, a resolution was carried to authorize a hangar lease agreement between Georgia Crown Distributing Company and an intergovernmental agreement. The airport, which is now a County department, sits on land that is half owned by the city. The City approved the lease for the County’s new lease agreement which will see a new hangar built on site.

The last piece of business on this night was a first reading of an ordinance to restrict parking on S. Dawson Street. This complaint has been brought before the city and has now been made into a possible new ordinance that the city could adopt. The second reading and vote will take place at the next council meeting in two weeks.

One last piece of exciting news that the Mayor shared during the meeting was the new that the Young Gamechangers have announced LaGrange and Troup County as their spring 2017 focus community. Young Gamechangers is a program that brings together 50 of Georgia’s best young professionals from January through June that will provide big recommendations and suggestions for the community going forward.

This is an exciting announcement for the city and will be an interesting perspective going forward determining what the group will have to say about our city.

Jeremy Andrews Staff Writer