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Commission taking bids on property

BY Sara Barker - sbarker@chronicle-tribune.com

The Gas City Redevelopment Commission has not yet sold the acreage that once made up the Old Drischell Farm, but interest by a local businessman has cause the Commissioners to offer the land up to bidders.

At its meeting last week, the Commission met with local experts and Walnut Creek Outdoors owner Jim Norton, who is interested in buying part of the 67-acre property at Ind. 22 and 600-E from the redevelopment commission to expand his sports retail business.

In the Previous Commission meeting in April, commissioners labeled the entire plot of land as open for development. However, some at the Wednesday meeting said only the 25-acre plot Norton wants to buy is developable.

The other 42 acres is mostly dirt and exposed pipes that serve as drainage for the Gas City speedway and cannot be built upon in its current state.

Those in attendance Wednesday talked about developing the 25 acres on the corner of the lot and unintentionally landlocking the rest of the property by cutting off access to the road.

Norton said this was not a concern of his, and if he were to develop, he could find a way to run a road to the rest of the property.

Commissioners said these boundaries on the plot of land are unofficial and drawn by Norton based off of what he wanted to originally purchase. The land has not been officially parceled out.

The western portion of the property was originally being eyed by Ole Miss youth sports to be a sporting complex, but the commissioners said they had not heard from them in a while and thought they were disinterested.

Commissioners voted unanimously to get a professional opinion on the ability for the rest of the property to be developed, as suggested by attorney Joe Certain, even if the 25 acres of prime land was purchased.

The 25 developable acres have been appraised at $795,250. The appraised value is the average of two appraisals. The commission paid $800 for each appraisal.

When Norton was asked by commissioners if he would pay that price for the land, he said he would not.

Commissioners voted to start accepting bids for the 25-acre portion of land, for which they can accept or reject depending on the amount of the bid and the purpose for which an interested buyer wants to use the land.

From there, the redevelopment commission will evaluate bids and consider appraising the rest of the acreage.

Commissioners did not discuss the possibility of a tax abatement for future developers of the property, as they expected to at their April meeting.