Even with occasional rain Sunday afternoon over 400 showed to the first of four public input workshops the city of Decatur is holding for assimilating potential uses of the old United Methodist Children’s Home property.
Many wandered over the 77 acres and through 10 buildings while tacking up 3 by 5 index cards with their suggestions. Just a cursory glance revealed considerable support for a track in the property’s middle section — something that Decatur High School has never had.
Other popular suggestions for recreational uses include a bicycle park, a cross-country course, live music venue near the lake, more public art and catch-and-release fishing.
It appeared, unofficially, the most popular potential uses for those buildings near the property’s front are affordable housing of some type. Several representatives attended from the Coalition for Diverse Decatur, which meets monthly at Oakhurst Baptist Church.
“We want housing set aside for seniors, for those with developmental disabilities and those living below the median income,” said John Michael with the CDD. “We envision an integrated community, with seniors and non seniors, with disabled and able bodied. This kind of community doesn’t exist — this could be a prototype.”
The city has three more input sessions to collect ideas, the next one on March 3. There will also be a series of civic dinners with 46 families signing up Sunday to host.
The city hopes to have a first draft for the site’s master plan by May or June and a final draft to take before the commission in late summer, early fall.