By Joel Hall
The City of Morrow's recently established Urban Redevelopment Agency entered into a $5,135,000 bond agreement with Bank of America on Tuesday.
According to city officials, the intent of the bond is to jump-start the construction of the Morrow Conference Center and speed up the completion of the city's pathways system, already underway.
According to the agreement, the city will pay only interest on the loan in 2010 and 2011, while the balance of the loan will be paid according to the following schedule: $1,220,000 in 2012; $1,260,000 in 2013; $1,305,000 in 2014; $1,350,000 in 2015. The interest on the loan is fixed at 3.44 percent, according to City Manager John Lampl.
Lampl said the conference center and the pathways system are both projects included in the six-year, 2008 Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) program. He said "front-loading" the projects with cash funding will allow Morrow residents to reap the benefits of the SPLOST, sooner rather than later.
"You've got a SPLOST dollar that comes in over six years, so we are front-loading these [projects] to do the construction," Lampl said. "That allows us to do some of the other SPLOST projects at the same time. All of the SPLOST projects, in terms of construction, should be completed in the first three years and [the city is] paying on them in year four, five, and six.
"We want you to be able to stand on a piece of property that we told you we were going to build, signed, sealed, and delivered," he added.
Morrow Mayor Jim Millirons said the pathways system - a set of interconnecting, 12-foot-wide, golf cart trails - and the conference center will be vital in bringing more commerce and residents to Morrow. He said he ultimately wants to make Morrow a "golf cart city," with conference center facilities that rival College Park's.
Millirons said the $5,135,000 will help make that a reality."They [the projects] are very crucial," he said. "They have been on the drawing board for a while. This will put another couple of miles on the pathways system.
"The convention center is very crucial," Millirons added. "They have very good facilities in College Park, but not on the Southside. Everything we do is going to help bring people to Morrow."