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Decatur Diary | February 26, 2018

Refining Ideas for the Children’s Home Property: Don’t miss these upcoming workshops

While the future of the former United Methodist Children’s Home property was expected to be a popular topic for Decatur residents, perhaps no one anticipated just how popular that might be. But thanks to a kick-off meeting drawing over 400 residents and the ongoing Civic Dinners presently taking place at tables around town, we’re amassing hundreds if not thousands of ideas to consider, assess and potentially incorporate.

That process begins now, and we’re doing it together.

Please join us for one of the following three Workshops designed to accommodate as many different schedules as possible — one on a Saturday morning, one a weekday evening, and one the following Saturday afternoon. The discussion program at each event will be the same.

Saturday, March 3 | 9-Noon
Dining Hall, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur (Map It)

Tuesday, March 6 | 6-8pm
Dining Hall, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur (Map It)

Saturday, March 10 | 2-5pm
Dining Hall, 500 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur (Map It)

What to Expect

For each workshop, the project team will get everyone on the same page with an initial summary of information to-date — ideas collected at the kick-off, significant aspects of the site, and the general physical characteristics we have to work with.

(Note: Each of the two Saturday workshops will begin with further opportunity to tour the campus, including some key buildings open for viewing. If you missed our four-hour kick-off, these options offer a second chance to explore.)

Thereafter, we’ll break into table discussions to drill down on and map various ideas and explore how each might contribute to or otherwise further Decatur’s strategic goals.

We’ll end with an opportunity to ask questions, share the outcomes of our conversations and, if need be, affix additional ideas to our imagination boards.

Make plans now to attend. We hope to see you there.

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Weigh In | Your Ideas Matter
Join These 6 Contributions
Ground Rules: We encourage respectful community conversation around planning and development issues in the City of Decatur. Participants are asked to login via Facebook, Twitter or Google, or create a user account through Disqus. Profane or abusive contributions may be moderated.


  1. Angelique Harris says

    As a resident of the City of Decatur, I think it is time for the city to keep it’s promise of developing affordable single family homes for families, similar to the 5-6 that were built in Oakhurst several decades ago. Some of the property at the United Methodist Home should be set aside for this.

  2. Renee Kirlin says

    Like Angelique I want to see affordable housing located on the UMCH site especially since it maybe the only location the city owns on which to ensure this type of diversity. However because the need is so great many more than five or six units are needed. I also hope that the City will create a way the affordable units would continue in perpetuity. Decatur claims to value diversity. This is an opportunity to live into that promise.

  3. JohnRidley says

    I am very opposed to the so called grounds rules regulating public speech on this social media forum. The grounds rules for public speech are established by the Constitution of the United States and the definitive rulings of the US Supreme Court. The government of the City of Decatur has no discretion in freedom of speech matters. The City of Decatur must conform to the rules of what is and is not “protected free speech” as mandated by the federal government. The City of Decatur or its paid agents have no legal authority to attempt to regulate “relevence” or “decorum” and certainly not to interject a “religious standard” such as the “golden rule” on speech about public policy issues.

    As a side matter, the City of Decatur Public Facilities Authority which technically purchased and owns the UMCH property ( to the best of my knowledge and current understanding) has no jurisdiction to be involved public housing issues as that is the province of the Decatur Housing Authority. If you are interested in affordable housing I suggest you direct your attention to the Decatur Housing Authority.

    • DavidDecatur says

      “Ground rules” are NOT established by the Constitution! What nonsense. Neither is the “golden rule” a religious standard. What is your problem, angry man.

    • John Anon says

      The point of these workshops is to hear input from residents and interested neighbors about potential future uses of the property. Any ideas would be forwarded to, and implemented by, the appropriate City of Decatur departments in a final plan. Any citizen is welcome to send their ideas directly to appropriate departments. As I see it, The City respectfully asks that all discussion on this forum stick to the topic and remain civil toward the other participants in reciprocity (ie golden rule). I have not seen any removal of postings on this forum, but I welcome it as a matter of relevance.

  4. JohnRidley says

    The ‘Golden Rule’ is officially endorsed as a core tenet (a philosophical concept of reciprocity if you will) of 143 known religions including : Baha’i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian.

    If you do not think the Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of our country and that the United States Supreme Court is not the highest court in the land I regret to inform you are incorrect.

    I am not an issue here. Personal attacks on me do not change what the issue is here: The unconstitutionality of the behavior of the Decatur City Government. Its plain, its really very simple: The City of Decatur has no authority over “protected free speech”. Unlike pornography, prevailing community standards have no legal impact on “protected free speech”.

    What I have told you up to now are just facts. My conclusion (opinion) is that:

    In short, what we have here is a government trying to get away with running a censorship program.

    We are better than this.

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