Over the next week, Auburn city officials will discuss proposals to move forward with the restoration of two historical buildings that could become cultural gems in the city’s redeveloped downtown district.
On Thursday, Feb. 17, the Auburn City Council will discuss a proposed application for a $500,000 grant to restore the R.R. Withers/Perry-Raining Building on College Street. The city has purchased the building but needs restoration funds.
The city also will have a public hearing on the application at noon Feb. 23 in an Auburn City Hall conference room.
The source of potential funding is a Community Development Block Grant requiring a local match of 5 percent, which is $25,000. Once the building’s restoration is complete, the site will become a cultural arts and community center where classes ranging from GED instruction to pottery and music are offered. Also at this week’s council meeting, downtown development coordinator Sherrie Miller will present the 20 or so entries in a “Name That Building Contest” that the DDA sponsored to get the community’s input on the name for the cultural arts and community center.
In addition, city planner Larry Lucas is scheduled to present the staff’s recommendation of an architectural firm for the planned renovation of the historic Hawthorne House on 4th Avenue. That 110-year-old structure has not been purchased yet, but the city has applied for a low-interest U.S. Dept. of Agriculture loan to do so. Once restored, the Hawthorne House would become a community event and meeting center. It also would house the Auburn History Museum.
The building is on about three acres of land and the city’s plans call for the construction of a large barn where concerts and large events would take place.
The votes on all of the matters discussed Feb. 17 and Feb. 23 will take place at the council’s March 3 meeting.
Also on the agenda for Thursday night’s council meeting is the following: •the proposed annexation of 25 parcels off Greentree Drive, Pine Tree Lane and Dogwood Lane, which are in the Greentree Subdivision. The development’s privately owned well and pump distribution system appear to be failing. The cost of extending municipal water service would be about $50,000, according to information in the council’s meeting packet.
•establishing a rental fee of $5 for two hours’ use and an additional $2.50 per hour for longer use of the municipal tennis courts.
•partnering with the Georgia Department of Revenue by providing business license information to enable the state to determine if all businesses are paying sales taxes.
•amending the city’s code regulating the operation of tattoo parlors by removing all references to Gwinnett County, whose ordinance language was the model for Auburn’s regulations.
•placing into surplus a bucket truck that has been replaced and setting a minimum sales price of $2,000 for an online auction site.
•and renewing a three-year contract with Robert Fox to serve as the city’s water quality assessor.