Morrow struggles to revive Olde Towne Morrow - CBS46 News

Morrow struggles to revive Olde Towne Morrow

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Leaders in the city of Morrow said a study on how to salvage Olde Towne Morrow should be completed any day now, offering them direction on what to do with the site of abandoned shops and restaurants.

The commercial development opened in Nov. of 2009, but closed a year later after a series of problems were uncovered.

City officials said there is construction debris buried on the site and the sprinkler system that was installed is not up to fire code.  In addition, no market analysis was done to determine if the project was economically sound.

"It is a big mess," said Ruth Barr, a local taxpayer.  "It's a mess the city is going to have to deal with many, many years."

The development is a mixture of new commercial structures and old homes. They were brought to the city from locations across the state and turned into shops and restaurants.

The city borrowed $10 million to finance Olde Towne Morrow and other projects.  It continues to pay $600,000 in annual debt on the loan.

"Oh, it is tax money," said Ann Cruz, another local tax payer.  "I'm very anal about my tax money."

"We have a black cloud over us," said City Manager Jeff Eady.  "The project is bleeding and we need to stop it."

Former city manager and city councilman John Lampl spearheaded much of the project.  A grand jury recently indicted him on charges of perjury, making false statements and conspiracy to restrain competition.  Lampl is accused of signing contracts with developers without putting the projects out for bid.

CBS Atlanta went to Lample's Morrow home but no one answered.

"The council had faith and trust in him to do the right thing," said Eady.

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