By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – In a landmark 21-2 vote Monday evening, the Putnam County Commission voted to purchase 187 acres of property located on or near Tennessee Avenue as the site for a new fair grounds and expo center. The purchase price of the property is $5.049 million, or $27,500 an acre.
The commission voted to purchase the property contingent on environmental studies and other due diligence.
The Putnam County Fiscal Review Committee had recommended purchasing 130 acres, known as the Nash-Medley Property for $27,500 per acre. On Friday afternoon, representatives of the Sheridan family approached Porter about purchasing their 53-acre parcel that contains 4,779 total feet of road frontage on both sides of Tennessee Avenue at the same price per acre.
“To be able to buy 187 acres on a brand new Tennessee Avenue fifth interchange is unheard of,” said Porter. I’m extremely excited that we found this property. I’m even more excited that the Sheridan family was willing to sell us their property for the same price per acre which just made that deal an unbelievable good deal for the county and I think the county will reap the benefits from it for years to come.”
Craig Hughes, a representative of the Sheridan family, stated that the family offered the property to the county at 18% of the previous asking price because they are driven to see the Tennessee Avenue interchange developed. The family no longer lives in Putnam County but said that the county had been very good to them throughout the years.
Commissioner Theresa Tayes voted against the purchase.
“I was thinking about all of the people I represent and I don’t think that we need it right now,” said Tayes.
Commissioner Terry Randolph also voted against the measure.
“I think the timing is not good,” Randolph said. “I think we have some other things on the table, like building a jail and a new high school. Those are more important to me than selling the fairgrounds and buying property.”
Porter initiated the environmental studies on the property earlier this week. He hopes to have it completed within the next few weeks and to move on with the closing of the sale.