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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Developer's request for resolution fair

The resolution the Burnham Group LLC wants from Decatur City Council appears to be the next logical step in deciding if Wilson Morgan Park is to be swapped for two new parks farther north on Beltline Road.

There is no need for council members to drag out bringing this controversial proposal to a decision.

Mike Belew of Burnham wants a resolution that will be non-binding on the city but will encourage his company to go ahead with more detailed work on the proposed Morgan Commons commercial complex at the existing park site.

Council members heard from the developers Monday night, at which time about 100 interested citizens showed up to voice opinions.

If council members have any interest in the proposed land swap that would net the city two new parks equal to the value of the Wilson Morgan land — and they should — they will gain nothing by dragging out a preliminary decision.

Burnham's next step, if it gets the resolution, will be to develop specific plans and line up tenants for what preliminary plans shows as places for 22 stores and five restaurants on the 60-acre site.

Equally as important, passing the resolution will give the city the opportunity to have more discussions about the merits of the swap and to hear misgivings about potential traffic problems, and about the new parks being, perhaps, too far from city center.

Council members could make a decision as soon as Monday to pass the non-binding resolution. They should strongly consider doing so because it allows them to halt the project later, if members don't like how it is developing on paper.

Not knowing exactly what developers have in mind for the choice spot of real estate breeds more uncertainty and mistrust.

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