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Ask the Times: Pedestrian bridge payment linked to development
Hall County has been trying for years to move an abandoned house that has been sitting alongside Browns Bridge Road. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.

Will Gainesville be off the hook for paying for the pedestrian bridge if the proposed office complex and hotel never materialize? If the city doesn’t have to pay that money back, do the citizens get that SPLOST money back? Will the bridge ever open?

City Manager Kip Padgett wrote in an email to The Times that the current agreement between City Council, the Redevelopment Authority and the City View Developer state that they will not be reimbursed for the bridge until one of the following occurs: 1) A certificate of occupancy is issued for an office building or 2) a development agreement satisfactory to the city is entered into with a hotel developer.

The agreement does not require repayment until then.

City officials have identified economic development funds to be used for the repayment. Since special purpose local option sales tax funds are lower than projected, the city does not plan to use those funds.

Project manager Barclay Fouts said the bridge is set to open by the end of July. Crews currently are finishing the fencing on the bridge.

There’s an old house that was being moved and has sat on the side of Brown’s Bridge Road near Mincey Marble for several years. Why doesn’t the county have it moved?

A house at 4155 Browns Bridge Road was moved to that location between five and seven years ago and left on rails, according to Capt. Andre Niles with Hall County Code Enforcement. And that’s how long his department has been trying to get rid of the eyesore, he said.

The owner, listed as Tommie Chiquita Holland on the county’s GIS records, moved the house there and left it, Niles said.

“We presently have her in court on that property,” he said. “Now we’re waiting on the judge to award a lawyer to oversee the property because she’s been ruled incompetent.”

What has been a yearslong saga for his department and an annoyance for many Browns Bridge property owners could be resolved in the next month or so, Niles hopes.

Until the judge rules, “we’re kind of stuck in the mud on it,” Niles said.

He said Holland had the house brought to her Browns Bridge property without any permits.

“I want the house gone,” he said.

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