$10 million and abandoned: Morrow still holds out hope for town center

Olde Towne Morrow: Was it worth it?

The city spent at least $10 million building Olde Towne Morrow but, after just 2 years, it closed and has been a ghost town ever since.

So was this plan to give the city of Morrow a long-awaited town center a waste of taxpayer dollars or is the best yet to come?

A view from this end of the street shows a circle of cozy homes and promising businesses that remind you of yesteryear - a feeling city leaders thought was worth the price tag. But with boarded up doors and broken windows, there's no fuzzy feeling now - and not one soul to be found there. A development that opened in great fanfare in 2009 closed in 2011.

But why? 11Alive reached out to several city leaders and could not get any specific reasons. 

Consultant Timothy Johnson said there may have been mismanagement along the way with a previous administration but that there's not one department responsible. 

“To put blame on any particular person - I don't think is necessary,” Johnson said.

In response to the spending of $10 million, Johnson said that he thought city officials had “a positive vision.”

A feasibility study was completed in 2011 though the direction of where the property is headed remains unseen. But Johnson believes it can be turned around. 

“I thought a mixed-use development, a ‘live here, work here’ would work wonderfully here,” he said.

Police Chief James Callaway makes sure the area is patrolled and preserved. He said that even though the development is closed, it has helped meet other city goals in the meantime.

“Even since its closed, we did hold some city events at this location that were very popular,” he said. 

Chief Callaway thinks the best is yet to come.

The city manager said that a variety of developers have shown interest but no one has made an offer. Officials said the downtown development authority has not determined an asking price.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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