Pelham considering $450,000 land purchase

The Pelham City Council is considering purchasing a 1-acre tract of land and a building near Pelham City Park, and is set to vote on the matter Aug. 22. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham City Council likely will decide during a special-called meeting Aug. 22 if it will move forward with purchasing a $450,000 piece of property near the Pelham City Park tennis courts.

The announcement came during the council’s Aug. 15 meeting, during which the council held the first reading of the property purchase resolution.

The property, which is north off Ballpark Road slightly west of the Gofourth Mobile Home dealership, is about 1 acre and contains a 10,000-square-foot blue building. The land is currently owned by William Gayle and Donald Guy, and houses the John Deere Landscapes company.

In March, the council voted to purchase about 35.78 acres off U.S. 31 near Pelham City Park for $4.94 million to one day possibly house a recreational center and other parks and recreation upgrades.

“This (1 acre) is not part of the original purchase,” said Council President Mike Dickens. “But it’s contiguous to what we purchased before.”

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said purchasing the land and the building could help city officials if they one day move forward with upgrades to Pelham City Park.

“If some land comes up for sale, and it’s connected to what you’ve already bought, you better buy it. That way, you have control over it in the future,” Murphy said.

Dickens, Councilman Bill Meadows and Councilwoman Teresa Nichols voted in favor of suspending the rules of order to allow the council to vote on the land purchase during the Aug. 15 meeting, but the motion failed after Councilman Steve Powell and Councilwoman Karyl Rice voted against suspending the rules.

Dickens urged the council to vote on the purchase as soon as possible to give Pelham Finance Director Tom Seale “plenty of time to get the Is dotted and the Ts crossed,” before the new budget year begins in October.

However, Powell said he was not comfortable voting on the matter, and said the city should delay the vote to give Pelham residents a chance to provide feedback.

“The survey of the appraisal was not sent out before tonight. I was given no chance to review it and understand what I am voting on, to be completely honest,” Powell said. “This is $450,000 of the taxpayers’ money. I think we should at least give them a chance to provide feedback.”

The City Council likely will vote on the land purchase during a special-called meeting Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. at Pelham City Hall.