By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – At Monday’s Putnam County Commission meeting, Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter presented the commission with two sites that he has identified as potential locations for an event center to include a relocated fairgrounds site. The county has options on both sites until the end of November, giving the commission two months to tour the sites and determine if either of these locations is suitable.
The former county commission tasked Porter with finding a site to replace the deteriorating fairgrounds property that has been swallowed by the city of Cookeville’s development. Over the past two years, Porter has reviewed multiple parcels and even brought the old race track property in Baxter to the commission for consideration. The commission voted against the Baxter property, requesting that he search for property closer to or within the Cookeville city limits.
Porter recommended to the commission that they consider a site that will house an event center like the one at the Wilson County fairgrounds. Wilson County’s events center is booked every weekend for over a year in advance and brings in over $500,000 annually. Putnam County’s fairgrounds currently hosts a fair that lasts 10 days a year and through other various events brings in approximately $10,000 annually.
The two sites recommended were the Medley-Nash property located on Tennessee Avenue and the Trinity Church property located off Old Sparta Road. Both sites are over 100 acres, almost three times the size of the current fairgrounds (35.5 acres), and environmental studies have already been completed on both sites.
The Nash-Medley property is 110-125 acres, depending on what the commission would want. It is on Tennessee Avenue but also has access from Hawkins Crawford Road. There is no sewer at the site, but the city is working on getting sewer to the area. The negotiated price for this site would be $27,000 per acre.
The Trinity Church property is 109 acres. It is on Old Sparta Road but also joins Old Bridge Road in places. This site currently has water and sewer available, resulting in a higher negotiated price of $34,800 per acre.
Porter suggested that commissioners pick a date and, as a group, visit both sites. He stated that drone footage had been shot of each and would be made available for commissioners to review.
A final decision on either site would have to be made at the Oct. 21 or the Nov. 18 county commission meeting, or the options will lapse possibly resulting in a higher per acre price.
An appraisal is being done on the current fairground site to determine its actual value. Porter will report this back to the commission at their October meeting.