Thursday November 26th, 2015 7:29AM

Gainesville considers issuance of $13.5 million in revenue bonds

By Bill Johnson
GAINESVILLE -- Gainesville City Council is expected to approve the issuance of $13.5 million in revenue bonds for the benefit of Brenau University at its next meeting.

William Bagwell, a member of the city's Redevelopment Authority, made the request at Thursday's work session.

Mayor Danny Dunagan said the purpose of the issuance is to refinance Brenau's existing debt on the John S. Burd Center for Performing Arts and to finance the renovation of the inside of the Georgia Mountains Center.

The city agreed last year to allow the Authority to lease the Mountains Center the school so it can expand its professional health care programs.

Under the agreement, Brenau will lease the facility rent-free for the first 10 years. The city benefits by eliminating about $400,000 a year in operating costs.

City and university officials agree that the lease is a win-win situation for both.

Dunagan said, "It's going to be very good for the City of Gainesville and for Brenau. It gives them a presence downtown and gives our merchants a lot more exposure."

Once Brenau has all its health care programs in place, city officials say the economic impact to Gainesville and Hall County is expected to be about $40 million a year.

Legacy Link to pursue grant

Council also agreed to place authorization for the Gainesville-Hall Community Service Center to apply for a Fiscal Year 2014 Legacy Link grant on next week's agenda. The grant requires a city match of $44,851.

Legacy Link provides senior transportation and home delivered meals through the Meals on Wheels program.
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