Columbiana leaders near decision on Summer Classics site purchase

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Columbiana leaders discussed the possibility of purchasing the Summer Classics site for a possible city center Tuesday night.

Mayor Allan Lowe said last week that he would address the city council members during a work session to hear their opinions on the potential project.

The five-acre site, which was home to Summer Classics furniture manufacturing factory before it burnt to the ground in 2004, could potentially become the new home for commercial and residential developments, as well as a permanent place for the Academy of Fine Arts of Shelby County.

Lowe met earlier this year with architects from Gresham, Smith and Partners to discuss a possible layout for the property.

&8220;Our first priority is to the residential and commercial,&8221; Lowe said following the meeting. &8220;The residential would focus around multi-family developments.&8221;

Lowe said the cost of the land has been appraised at $320,000, with Shelby County potentially covering half of that cost in exchange for a guaranteed green space on the property.

Should city council members agree to go forward with the project, Lowe said he could have the contract worked out with the site&8217;s owner, Bow White, by the end of the week.

One Columbiana councilmember has already voiced his opposition to the plan, however, saying he believes the plan is being forced on the council.

Councilmember Danny Kelley has been quoted as saying he was not comfortable with the proposal.

Lowe said that if he could get a majority opinion from council members during last night&8217;s meeting, he would move forward with the project. If not, he said, then it would not be worth discussing any further.