Downtown Ball Ground could see another new business coming in the near future.

The Ball Ground City Council voted last week to declare its former city hall surplus property and sell it. The building, located at the corner of Valley Street and Gilmer Ferry Road, was the city hall until 2007, when the city moved into its current facility. 

“The idea was to sell the old city hall once we moved into the new one,” City Manager Eric Wilmarth said.

However, rather than it being sold right then, the building sat empty for some time, and the city has also leased it out for businesses to set up shop there.

Wilmarth said one reason the city held onto the site for as long as it did was due to the possibility of Georgia Department of Transportation intersection improvements there. This idea was essentially deemed not feasible, though, due to the parcel’s proximity to the railroad tracks and other historic buildings located at the intersection.

At its work session and meeting last Thursday, council members decided the city would handle the entire process, receiving all potential sealed bids for the building and choosing to either sell to the highest bidder or reject all bids.

Once the highest bidder has been determined and the sale of the building completed, Wilmarth said one potential idea for the money the city will receive came from Mayor Rick Roberts, who suggested that some of it be given to the Downtown Development Authority for use in setting up a downtown façade grant program for local businesses.

The city will soon issue the required legal notice and post signs on the building with information about how to bid on the property, Wilmarth said. Once the window is open for bids to be submitted to city hall, bidders will have 60 days to send in their bids. To visit the building and get a more detailed look, potential bidders can contact city hall and request an appointment.

Even though the window for bidding has not yet opened, Wilmarth said there have been several parties expressing interest in submitting a bid on the building, suggesting the city could see a number of fairly significant bids once the window opens.

“We will be advertising it soon,” Wilmarth said.

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