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Athens City Council moves closer toward future of old Pilgrims Pride plant site

On Monday night, the council voted to hire a landscape architect to help the city figure out what to do with the land.

Posted: Apr 22, 2019 10:42 PM
Updated: Apr 22, 2019 10:44 PM

WAAY 31 was at the Athens City Council meeting when the council voted to move forward on the future of the old plant site. We spoke with people who already have an idea of what they'd like to see built.

"It needs to be something for the kids. That's the number one thing," Antwain Orr said.

Orr lives near the now torn down plant and said he wants the city to build something his kids can enjoy.

"An arcade, like a Chuck E. Cheese. Anything! Something big out there, because it's a big old field out there," Orr said.

The landscape architecture firm, Farmer Morgan, is taking on the project. The site is 32 acres, and, according to the city, seven acres will be made into a park and five acres will remain undeveloped to be used as a flood plain. Sharon French said she hopes they get to work on the demolished plant site soon.

"It's an eyesore. Something needs to be done with it," French said.

She suggested a park or fitness center be built where the old plant once stood. She wants there to be something that won't create a lot of traffic but will welcome newcomers to Athens.

"As we're getting these new plants coming in, I know different people are going to be moving to this area, and we want to be ready for those people. We want them to know that this is a very nice, clean area that they can come to," French said.

Orr agrees and said any new development should make the city better for generations to come.

"It's a small town. It's a good town to live in, but we just need something for the kids to do," Orr said.

Orr added he specifically doesn't want to see restaurants built at the site, and French said she doesn't want a shopping mall. Both said they hope whatever final decision is made will be in favor of something family-friendly.

Up next, the Athens City Council will start working on a contract with Farmer Morgan to determine services they'll provide and the cost. At this point, the city has spent $1.2 million to buy the land and tear down the plant, and they're prepared to spend $1.5 million to develop the infrastructure around the land to entice developers to build on it.

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