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Downtown Flowery Branch drainage study planned in hopes of attracting development
1204FLOWERY
Heavy rain can cause problems on property in downtown Flowery Branch being viewed as a site for future commercial uses and a new city hall.

Developers are looking at downtown Flowery Branch  but “can’t seem to get past” drainage woes that have long dogged the area.

And that’s despite assurances “we have funds to take care of storm water issues,” City Manager Bill Andrew said.

In addressing the problem, the City Council voted Thursday night to spend up to $89,800 to hire Marietta-based Southeastern Engineering Inc. for a storm water study of an area west of Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks that cut through downtown and involving such roads as Mitchell and Pine streets.

Then, “we can make the decision whether to move forward with a detailed survey and construction drawings,” Andrew told the council.

“If a developer wants to know how we’re going to take care of this problem, we can just unroll a set of blueprints and say we’ve got the design and are ready to move forward on it. ... Just having those drawings has value in itself.”

The council’s vote on the contract wasn’t unanimous, with Councilman Joe Anglin wanting to put off a decision until the Dec. 17 council meeting so that more questions could be answered.

But generally he also raised concerns about how the work, which essentially serves the planned construction of a new city hall off Railroad Avenue, increases the cost of the city hall project from $4.9 million to $5 million.

Also involved in the city hall project are plans to extend Pine Street from Church Street to Railroad. The city is pursuing state money to help with that work.

“I just hope (city officials) will consider in their mind what the (financial) threshold is going to be for this project,” Anglin said.

He also questioned the city hall project in general.

“I’m just not convinced that putting the city hall on that piece of land is going to attract developers down here and attract people other than come pay a ticket,” Anglin said.

Flowery Branch resident Michael Justice also questioned the project.

“Building a city hall, as I think people in Sugar Hill and Buford will tell you, does not attract development,” he said.

The council also voted to seek proposals for a construction manager on the city hall project. A decision on a particular proposal could be made at the council’s Jan. 21 meeting.

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