Yes to a new park
The council’s Finance Committee tonight agreed in principle to spend $220,000 for a lot to develop a pocket park off Carr Avenue and Broadway and moments later let die a $150,000 offer to purchase commercial property in the Publix center to develop a car wash.
Residents who have been working nearly two years to gather support for the park left happy with the committee’s agreement with property owner David Heeter of Lucerne Boulevard to purchase — at a total cost to the city of no more than $220,000 — Heeter’s lot on “short” Saulter Road just off Carr. The contract details will come back to the Finance Committee for approval before being ratified by the full council. Members Walter Jones, Britt Thames, Vance Moody and Jenifer Champ Wallis voted in favor. Committee member Peter Wright voted no, presumably due to the cost. [In an email provided Monday, Mr. Wright said he voted no because he didn’t think the city should pay a residential price for a lot intended to be used as a park, and because he considered the decision premature, with no specific plans drawn for using the property.]
The property is 175 feet X 145 feet and lies in a flood plain. It was once a daycare, Heeter said. The committee, however, did not snap up an adjacent portion of the “Evans’ property” on Carr Avenue, to which the Alabama Power Company holds an easement. Mr. Heeter said his neighbor would not go along with using the property in front of his house as a parking lot for the park and nearby restaurants, as one councilman suggested.
No, for now, to a car wash
A car wash developer may come back with more money, but for tonight, four committee members rejected his offer of $150,000 for property the city condemned and purchased for $320,000 a dozen years ago. One exception was Ward 2 councilman Vance Moody, who made the motion to accept the purchase, and who made a similar motion at the last committee meeting when the offer was $100,000. Councilman Peter Wright, one of four committee members who declined to second the motion, explained he didn’t support this type of business in the Green Springs renewal district, at least at this price. Those rejecting the deal had their job made easier when the developer said his contract stipulated the city guarantee “ingress and egress” to the property. The city attorney explained that the city was unable to meet that condition as the property lies within the private Publix development.