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City Council members vote to purchase, renovate old house

The City of Thomson has gone into the real estate business.

Such a decision was made last Thursday night during a meeting of Thomson City Council, in which officials voted 4-1 to purchase an old house on Railroad Street for $25,000.

The house will be renovated with HODAG funds and then offered for resale to a city employee, according to Mayor Robert E. Knox, Jr.The city "has a pot of money" amounting to nearly $600,000 for the purchase of houses that can be renovated and resold to persons who otherwise couldn't afford to become homeowners, Mayor Knox said.

"I think this would be a great program for us to get into," Mayor Knox said.

Details have yet to be worked out concerning the criteria by which an employee might be selected to become a new homeowner, city officials said.

Such programs already are ongoing in other cities across Georgia.

One of those cities is Savannah, according to Councilman Alton Belton.

"It seems to be working well there and I think it would here," Mr. Belton added before making a formal motion for the city to purchase the house. His motion received a second from Councilman John Smalley, who said the city's presentation of the concept was better than last month when council members tabled the idea.

At that time, Councilman J.T. Wiley adamantly opposed the idea and still does.

"I just don't think the city needs to get into the real estate business," Mr. Wiley said. "We have enough people in that business, and I don't think we need to be getting into it."

In other business, Cyndie Locklear addressed city officials noting that she had submitted a petition with the names of 21 persons who do not wish to be included in the city's newly created Historic District Preservation. Ms. Locklear lives in the Grier Circle area of Thomson.

"I don't want to be included in the historical district, because I think government will then be able to tell me what to do with my property," Ms. Locklear said. "I don't want them telling me."

Web posted on Thursday, August 16, 2007

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