Leaders Come Together for the Good of the Community in the Library Green Space Controversy

Finally, tf appears that the ugly asphalt from the old Columbus Square parking lot is going tobe removed, and green space will take its place.  At a joint news conference at the new Muscogee County School District Public Education Center building, representatives for the school board, the library board, and the City of Columbus announced a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue.

The understanding is that the city will supply $1,050,412.46 of the 1999 SPLOST Projects to the School Board to remove the asphalt and “for seeding and landscaping said property to the extent that the funds will allow.”

We got a lesson in what can be done when two leaders get together to resolve a controversial issue.  Those two leaders are Mayor Jim Wetherington and School€ Board Chair P$hilip Schley.   Their coming together means the library site is going to be enhanced by a beautiful park instead of a stark old parking lot.  

A Memorandum of Understanding was issued today that allows the City to give $1,050,412.46 to the MCSD to  get the job done.  There were also some land swapping deals between the school system and the city. You can get the details about all of that in the paper and on TV newscasts.  

Attorney Frank Myers, who the mayor gave credit to for helping to bring the two sides together, said that the thing that really got things moving was when the late David Rothschild called Mayor  Wetherington four days before he died and asked him to get the issue resolved.  After that the mayor and  School Board Chair Philip Schley came together.  The city and the school board had been battling over who owned the 1999 SPLOST money that would be used for the park project.  Once they agreed that the public owns it, they decided it should be used to remove the asphalt and build the park. It won’t be called a park, though. State law doesn’t allow a library to operate a park, I was told. I guess it’ll just be library grounds. 

Of course, Columbus Council and the School Board each must approve the memorandum, but it appears they will;  however, you can’t be sure of that.  And this can mean the lawsuit filed by a group that included Rothschild, whom Myers said was totally dedicated to the good of the community, will be dropped.  Josh McKoon, lawyer for the group,  said of the seven plaintiffs in the suit, only one remains to be convinced it should be dropped. McKoon said he hopes it will be dropped and believes it will.

So now it looks as though the asphalt will be removed and replaced by a beautiful green area. That’s what I’ve wanted all along.

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