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Decatur in talks to buy historic 77-acre campus, create park

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City has expressed interest in United Methodist Children’s Home campus, which is now for sale

An aerial view showing the large, green campus in relationship to downtown Decatur, just to the northwest.
The 77-acre UMCH campus could be purchased by the City of Decatur.
Base via Google Maps

When the United Methodist Children’s Home announced earlier this month they planned to sell off their longtime Decatur campus for potential redevelopment, many folks weren’t exactly thrilled with the news.

Neighbors feared the 77-acre site could be filled with hundreds of homes, adding traffic to an already congested area just southeast of downtown Decatur.

On the other hand, preservationists feared that many of the structures on the campus — some dating back well over 100 years — could be lost forever in the name of progress.

However, those fears all may have been for naught.

Turns out the City of Decatur is now in discussions with the organization, with plans to buy the land and use it as a park, with the buildings serving after-school functions for the city’s kids, WABE reports.

The mayor of Decatur, Patti Garrett, said it’s the city’s intent to “honor the mission of the Methodist church in the same vein," paying homage to the organization that’s operated on the site since just after the Civil War.

While no specifics of a transaction have been released, the UMCH values the large site at $35 million. No word if they intend to cut the city a deal.

An aerial view showing the large, green campus in relationship to downtown Decatur, just to the northwest. Base via Google Maps