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Council still undecided on property trade

An offer to swap Georgiana’s Idlewood Park for part of the old Georgiana High School campus remains on the table after the Georgiana City Council voted to delay a decision for at least another month.

At the Georgiana City Council’s April meeting, Butler County School’s Superintendent Darren Douthitt and Assistant Superintendent Allin Whittle proposed a trade with the City of Georgiana that outlined a swap of Idlewood Park, which is owned by the City, and part of the Old Georgiana High School property, which would consist of everything west of Patterson Avenue, which is owned by the BOE.

If the trade were to take place, the City of Georgiana would take full control of those buildings including the insurance and maintenance.

“The City attorney said to get an estimate to see how much it would cost to fix,” Georgiana Mayor Mike Middleton said. “After we talked about what needed to be done, it will actually be $20,000 to repair the floors in the two buildings.”

According to Middleton, the floors in the buildings are the only thing that would need repairing or replacing.

If the council decided to move forward and accept the trade, Middleton said he would like to see small businesses moving into the individual classrooms in the building to create a mall-like setting.

“It would be whatever we wanted it to be,” Middleton said. “We’ll get active and try to get things into it if we decide to take the building.”

If businesses were to move into the building, City Council Member Byron Ward mentioned the idea of using a business incubator.

“The information I have on the business incubators is that you have to provide certain services like Internet and phone and electricity,” Ward said. “In my opinion, I think we need to sit down and get a grand vision of what we want to do so we can actually get a final price.”

The council agreed to wait until its July meeting to make the decision, but Middleton said he feels a decision needs to be made soon.

“I got you the price, and if you want to send the letter to the (school) board stating that the City wants the property on the west side of the street, we’ll do that and we’ll have our committees meet and start working to do whatever we need to do, but the (BOE) doesn’t want to sit and wait forever for us to tell them ‘ye’ or ‘nay’ as to which way we want to go,” Middleton said.