By Scott Buttram
In a continuation of Thursday night’s meeting, the Pinson council reconvened at 4 p.m. Friday and immediately went into executive session to discuss a real estate deal involving the Rock School currently owned by Solid Rock Church. When the group returned, they voted 4-2 to purchase the property for $975,000 contingent on the Solid Rock church purchasing the former New Covenant Fellowship building on Pinson Valley Parkway. Councilman Robbie Roberts and Councilwoman Joy McCain voted against the agreement.
The new purchase price is $100,000 more than the original agreed upon price of $875,000. However, the new agreement allows for limited use of the fields behind the Pinson Valley Parkway property for PVYA, the youth sports organization. Specifics on that use were not outlined at the meeting.
“We will be confirming everything by our own appraisal,” Mayor Hoyt Sanders said. “Should everything work out, there would be another instrument at a later time that would authorize a general obligation warrant upon the city that would be subject to council voting at that time.”
Councilman Joe Cochran said the historic value of the 19
21 Rock School appealed to him as well as other possible uses for the city.
“There are fields behind the Solid Rock church today that could be used for youth football, softball practice facilities, which we’re always short handed on,” Cochran said. “The front portion of the building could be re-purposed to become an expanded library. You could have some city services running out of that building, as well.”
McCain said her opposition came from financial concerns of the purchase.
“I haven’t seen enough figures in our budget that said we can afford this at this time,” McCain said. “It’s a financial thing that I’m worried about. We’ve got so much going on that I don’t want to be stretched out with our money. I don’t want to take away from one project for this.”
Roberts also expressed concern over the expenditure required by the city to make the purchase, despite his emotional ties to the building where he attended school.
“I just don’t think this is a wise decision, given where we are as a city,” Roberts said, citing the city’s relatively young age. “I’m concerned about what we may have to give up to make this work and I don’t want to see us put ourselves in that situation. This is a luxury that we just can’t afford right now.”
There was no set time frame for the purchase, as the agreement is contingent on several variables before the deal can be closed.