published Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Lookout Mountain town center concepts sought

The Lookout Mountain, Ga., City Council adopted a timeline at its meeting Thursday night to seek developers' proposals to create a new "town center" -- and hasn't ruled out any ideas.

The council will hold an Aug. 15 conference and then take proposals on Sept. 15 from developers to build a combination of municipal and commercial buildings to replace the aging City Hall at 1214 Lula Lake Road.

"It's still wide open for anybody to come in and offer proposals," Councilman Jim Sabourin said. "We haven't ruled out any options."

Two competing proposals have arisen so far:

The city's initial plan proposed knocking down the City Hall building to make room for a new fire station, municipal office and police station totaling 8,600 square feet. Those offices, designed by architect Michael McGowan, would to be built behind where City Hall now stands. The plan calls for a 5,000-square-foot commercial building, with room for Dr. Bill Moore Smith's family practice, on City Hall's front lawn.

The city would increase property taxes by 17 percent for 20 years to cover the anticipated $1.3 million cost.

More recently, developer Jimmy Chapin proposed buying the city's property, combining it with an adjacent 1.3 acres owned by the Voges family and building two commercial buildings on Lula Lake Road totaling 16,500 square feet, including space for the Mountain Market grocery, along with a 15,000-square-foot municipal building that Chapin wants to lease to the city.

Chapin's development would include a public amphitheater.

"The inclination of the council is toward the McGowan conceptual plan," Mayor Bill Glascock said. "We certainly welcome any new ideas, but we've been working in the direction of McGowan's conceptual plan for a long time."

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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