Tyrone Council balks at request for college

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 2:27pm
By: Ben Nelms

De-annexation sought for backup site at Dogwood Church campus

It was a pitch by Peachtree City Development Authority member Mark Hollums to see if Tyrone would consider de-annexing its portion of the Dogwood Church property along Ga. Highway 74 as part of a back-up plan to help secure the presence of Atlanta Christian College (ACC). While council members were not enthusiastic about the Oct. 6 request, a motion not to proceed with the consideration failed on a 2-3 vote.

Hollums said he attended the Nov. 6 council meeting to get a feel for the council’s posture on a possible de-annexation of the Dogwood property, part of which is situated in both municipalities. Hollums said on repeated occasions during the meeting that his presence was exploratory only.

“This is a Murphy’s Law proposal,” Hollums told the council, referring to the planned completion of the MacDuff Parkway project by May 2009. “If something can go wrong it will. The economy has made it difficult to get financing for the road, even though I think it can be done by May 2009. (Dogwood) could be a back-up site if the road doesn’t get completed in time.”

Hollums said such a plan, if needed, could help Fayette County become the site for the relocation of ACC’s main campus. ACC officials have indicated that either Peachtree City or Newnan would likely be the location for the move. Asked by council member Grace Caldwell about the likelihood of Peachtree City getting the campus, Hollums said, “pretty sure.”

Caldwell also asked how long Peachtree City had been talking with Dogwood Church and Tyrone about the being an alternative location. Hollums's response of approximately a year with Dogwood and 10 days with Tyrone prompted a response from Caldwell, who said she believed ACC and the church should have approached Tyrone about a possible de-annexation rather than the communication coming from Peachtree City’s development authority.

Council member Eric Dial agreed with Caldwell that Tyrone should have been approached sooner.

“I think (the ACC move) would be favorable economically,” Dial said. “I think we need more explanation about why talk with the church, but not with Tyrone. I am pleased to see this as a possible option but I would like to investigate it further.”

During the discussion, council member Gloria Furr said she had a problem with de-annexing property. And during his comments, council member Tracy Young said he did not have enough information on the topic.

“It sounds good on the surface but there are other issues,” Young said, following up on a comment by Furr minutes earlier when she mentioned that recent news accounts indicated a potential delay in ACC’s transition away from East Point. “If ACC really wants to come to Peachtree City I would think they would delay the move until MacDuff is ready.”

Hollums in response said if MacDuff is delayed 2-3 years ACC might not be able to wait, but he added that the city was told last week that the MacDuff project would be completed by May 2009.

“I would rather see (ACC) at MacDuff. I don’t want to de-annex. But if (ACC) would go to Newnan I’d be willing to look at it,” Dial said.

Dial also inquired about the possibility of a land swap if the town agreed to the de-annexation. The response by Hollums was that the possibility could be discussed.

Young also weighed in, saying that he preferred that the campus be located at the MacDuff site, adding that he did not see how de-annexation would work with the timelines involved.

In the end Caldwell made a motion, seconded by Furr, that the town not proceed with any de-annexation efforts relating to the Dogwood Church property. The vote was 2-3, with Young, Dial and Mayor Don Rehwaldt opposing. No other motion was considered on the topic.

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yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Fri, 11/07/2008 - 8:33pm.

I think it should be noted that Mark Hollums has been working on the ACC relocation as a private citizen for much longer than he has served (as a volunteer) on the PTC Development Authority. Hollums has spent uncountable hours of his own time on this project.
Although I can see where some may see that his inquiries could seem a bit grey now that he also represents the PTC DA, the Tyrone Council should know that this is no PTC scam, just the actions of a man who has only the best interests of the county and ACC (a school that he has a real heart for) in mind.
I would suspect that the reason for not approaching Tyrone soon is due to the fact that if Dogwood was not interested in the deal , approaching the city would be a moot point.

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