Vincent citizens debate whether to sell property

Published 1:56 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

Although Mary Fleming has lived in her home in Vincent for more than 40 years, she’s making a new start within the year, having sold her six acres to a company buying up more than 1,000 acres across Vincent.

She’s not completely happy with the decision to sell, but felt it was necessary to avoid being close to an industrial zone, she said.

“We just signed the papers last week,” she said.

Fleming isn’t sure how soon she’ll have to move, but said she thinks it’ll be within the year.

Bilye Jean Whitlock, who owns 159 acres in the area, said she was first approached about selling her land two and a half years ago. When she turned the offer down, the company came back again six months later.

“I told him I wasn’t interested,” she said. “They weren’t ugly, I just didn’t want them to bother me anymore. I’m not interested in selling.”

Billy Whitlock, Bilye’s son, said the family has no idea of the company’s name. He said he was approached by representatives as well, but told them the land would not be for sale.

He said he thinks the Whitlock land was attractive to the company because it is close to a river and to the railroad tracks.

“We figured the property we had, had water and a railroad,” he said. “I figured they were buying land property near or adjacent to the railroad tracks.”

Bilye said she just wants to keep the land in the family as long as possible.

“I know I’m growing old, but I’m hoping the children will keep it,” she said. “I would say it’s been in our family at least 50 years.”

She said there’s a petition going around the Vincent community for people who don’t want to sell their land.

“I signed the paper,” she said.

Krissie Masters, whose family owns 350 acres in Vincent, said her family decided not to sell the land because they’ve been there almost 90 years.

“That’s home to me, and I really don’t want to go anywhere. That’s four generations of my family,” she said. “It’s been in the family since 1921.”

Masters, who was approached by a real estate agent, said she didn’t know the name of the company that wanted to buy the family land. She was approached last fall, and the company contacted the family once more before dropping contact.

Masters said her family land also borders a railroad.

She said she has no idea what the bought land will be used for. She said she has heard rumors, but declined to elaborate on what those rumors were.