By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously adopted a resolution that authorizes the city to purchase vacant property owned by Shelby County Schools.
Board members took the action during their March 13 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Don Lowry.
The resolution states that the Shelby County School Board has designated the property at 4885 Bill Knight Road as “surplus” and has agreed to sell it to the city for $130,000. The property was formerly known as Millington South School and Renaissance Academy North.
The resolution notes that the city desires to improve that area by “eliminating” the vacant buildings and “consolidating” recreational sports fields into a “complex” along Jack Huffman Boulevard. It states that the consolidation will enhance the city, as well as “efficiencies” in operating the sports fields.
City Finance Director John Trusty said that, when the county school board advertised the property as surplus, Millington was the only entity that submitted a bid.
Although the board wanted “a whole lot more” than $130,000 for it, Trusty said that was all the city was willing to offer. And after several months, the board “finally agreed” to accept that amount.
Trusty said the city intends to convert most of the property into baseball fields and to develop the remainder as park land. He noted that it will also “tie into” the greenway connections that are planned as part of the Resiliency Grant.
The finance director said there is no other “benefit” to the building on the property than as a school.
“And most of it’s in such bad shape that you wouldn’t want to try to renovate it,” he added. “So, a lot of it will be torn down.”
Trusty acknowledged that part of the building will probably be retained for use by the city. While citing the gymnasium as an example, he said that “evaluation” has not yet been finalized.
“But we want to clean up the neighborhood, and we’re looking to do this all over the city,” he noted. “Just get rid of anything that’s an empty, blighted building.”
Alderman Mike Caruthers, a longtime member of the Millington Housing Authority, recalled that former interim mayor Linda Carter requested that it attempt to purchase the property six years ago.
Although the MHA had “no reason” to do so, Caruthers said it would be “really nice” if the city had some type of “youth facility” there.
“We have a lot of kids in that neighborhood,” he acknowledged. “It would be great for them to have some place to go play or hang out in.”
While calling the purchase “a great idea,” Alderman Thomas McGhee said he thinks there are several things the board should “have a discussion about” before it designates the area.
He noted that part of it could possibly be used by the Crisis Center, which does not “have enough room” in the building it occupies at 8133 Wilkinsville Road.
By Bill Short