MILTON, Ga. — Milton’s seventh Greenspace Bond purchase could complement its first. The city has entered a contract to purchase 12 acres along Freemanville Road that would provide much-needed southern access to the former Milton Country Club property the city purchased last January.
The 12-acre property is at 14620 Freemanville Road with a price tag of $1.25 million, or about $104,000 an acre. The City Council approved a contract to purchase the site at its Oct. 21 meeting.
If the acquisition is completed, it would address one of the questions raised during the master planning process for the park: how to access the southern portion of the 139-acre site. There are only four points of ingress to the park, and two are only permitted for use by first responders or city workers.
“We’ve struggled with the issue of southern access to the property, and for people who are coming to hike, to walk the property, right now the only way to get in would be Dinsmore (Road) through the active acres,” said Conservation Projects Manager Teresa Stickels. “There are times when active acres would be filled with swim and tennis, so we have long desired a way to get to the southern end of the property.”
Colt Whittall, chair of the Milton Greenspace Advisory Committee, said the board was unanimous in its support of the city purchasing the site.
“Access, egress into that has always been a little bit of a challenge, and we thought it was doable,” Whittall said. “We had a couple of options. This gives us an outstanding option. It’s not only a big, wide option, it’s a very pretty option, to be honest. The property is available, the funds are available, we have negotiated a reasonable contract at a reasonable price. The seven members of our committee are unanimous, and we want to move forward.”
Whittall added that the committee deemed some properties out of reach, but the Freemanville Road site came with a fair price tag.
“It is a reasonable value for a piece of land in this part of town that is a very pretty property that most likely supports a large yield of houses,” he said.
The city has eyed the property since last summer, but price was an issue. Stickels said the former property owner listed the site for $1.59 million last June. After the price was lowered to 1.35 million, the city looked to make the purchase, but the property went into foreclosure. The current owner put the property back on the market in July but wanted just a 3-day due diligence period. The city was able to negotiate a 45-day due diligence period along with the current price.
The city will still need to move quickly. The closing portion of the contract is included in the due diligence period. If the city needs added time to close, it must pay $100 a day under the contract.
While the council unanimously approved entering the contract, they shared concerns about impacts to neighboring homeowners.
City Attorney Ken Jarrard said Milton has the ability to privately sell “unusually shaped” pieces of property to the site’s neighbors if the homeowners want to purchase additional land. And because the city will own the site, officials can elect to provide buffers to adjacent properties.