City, DDA agree to settle

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

The long court battle between the city of Stockbridge and its Downtown Development Authority may finally be coming to an end.

The DDA and the City Council met Friday and signed a “mutual release and settlement agreement” that resolves most, if not all, of the two parties’ disputes.

According to the agreement, the city will dismiss its claims against the DDA and its current board members within seven days of the transfer of DDA-controlled property back to the city. Also, the intergovernmental agreement approved Dec. 30, 2013 by the previous city administration will become null and void, as will all other agreements ratified prior to March 5 of this year.

Sixteen specific properties are identified in the agreement, including the multiplex building, the Ted Strickland Community Center, and the old fire and police stations in the downtown area. The current lease agreement regarding the multiplex building would be retained under the agreement.

The DDA will keep $35,000 for routine administrative and legal expenses and return the rest of its monetary assets to the city.

The agreement calls for both groups to meet “in good faith” prior to January to discuss the development of a strategic economic development plan and annual operating budget for the DDA as well as a possible expansion of its designated geographic area to include some of the properties mentioned previously.

The agreement, which must still be approved by the court, was signed Friday by DDA vice chairman Raoul Clarke and mayor pro tem Alphonso Thomas. Neither Mayor Tim Thompson nor DDA chairman Houston Nelson participated in last week’s settlement discussions.