By Bill Short
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Jon Crisp.
The ordinance was passed on first reading at the board’s Sept. 9 meeting. It was then submitted to the Millington Municipal Planning Commission for its review and recommendation.
At its Sept. 16 meeting, the commission adopted a resolution recommending that the city close the portions of Quito and Hickory Meadows roads that extend within the stadium property, which will be sold and developed as a softball/baseball field complex.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, has said the road extensions are “basically private drives” that are “closed in the evening.” But he has acknowledged that a “community unity plan” was approved that created a lot “right in the middle” of the complex.
So, to eliminate any “issues” related to where the ball fields will be constructed and the roads go, the commission recommended closure of the affected road portions.
The USA Stadium Complex consists of eight parcels totaling approximately 124 acres owned by the city at 8 Babe Howard Ave.
At an April 29 special called meeting, the board voted unanimously to declare the complex “surplus property,” so it could be sold or leased.
The city advertised for bids on the property that would include the intended use and proposed lease or purchase terms.
Bids to purchase the complex were submitted by WBM LLC, doing business as Watazumi Beach Millington, for $1.2 million; and Kevin Kennedy for $1.5 million.
At its July 8 meeting, the board unanimously adopted a resolution approving Kennedy’s bid as the best one submitted “in terms of price and proposed use.”
Various portions of the eight parcels have been recorded as dedication of right-of-way to the city for future development of Quito and Hickory Meadows roads.
But because the city has no plans to develop those roads, the board decided to abandon the right-of-way to allow Kennedy “full access” to the entire complex.
City Finance Director John Trusty has said the new ordinance is designed to ensure that the city has “no restrictions on this deed” when it closes on the sale of the property.
Millington has always viewed the USA Stadium Complex as a method of bringing visitors to the city to use its hotels, restaurants and other stores.
But it operates the stadium along with other activities that annually cost a total of approximately $150,000 more than related revenues collected.
The board determined that the property needs “significant renovations and/or maintenance” that would “place a further burden” on the city’s resources.
So, it decided to reduce the “taxpayer burden” by encouraging private owners to further develop the property as a “recreational area.”
Kennedy and his investors will establish a limited liability corporation to own and operate the complex.
He plans to restore USA Stadium to its original condition and to construct “numerous” additional ball fields at the complex, with a dome over two fields.
Kennedy also plans to “market” the complex for competitive baseball and softball tournaments for children aged 7-12 and to expand current uses of existing competitions at USA Stadium.