Town of Oak Ridge to buy 58 acres for $1.8 million

Council approves purchase for preservation

Councilwoman Ann Schneider

Councilwoman Ann Schneider

By Kevin Spradlin
PiedmontPostNC.com

The Oak Ridge Town Council voted on Thursday night during its regular monthly public meeting to approve the purchase of 58 acres of historic farmland.

Photo from Councilwoman Ann Schneider's official Facebook page shows a portion of the 58-acre parcel the Oak Ridge Town Council agreed on Thursday, April 5, to purchase.

Photo from Councilwoman Ann Schneider’s official Facebook page shows a portion of the 58-acre parcel the Oak Ridge Town Council agreed on Thursday, April 5, to purchase.

Councilman George McClellan called it “a great day for Oak Ridge” on Councilwoman Ann Schneider’s official Facebook page.

Schneider lauded the purchase of the parcel, situated “in the center of our Historic District.” The current owners are Frank Whitaker Jr. and his wife, Claudia H. Whitaker.

“We are preserving history and extending our commitment to open space preservation – while preserving a beautiful rural landscape in the heart of Oak Ridge,” Schneider posted.

The property is located along Oak Ridge Road, west of Linville Road and south of Scoggins Road. The land is currently being farmed under a verbal agreement between the current property owners and Kyle Anders for hay.

Google Maps image The 58-acre property, currently being farmed for hay, should come into Town of Oak Ridge ownership in July. The land is west of Oak Ridge Town Hall, sandwiched between Scoggins Road to the north and Oak Ridge Road to the south.

Google Maps image
The 58-acre property, currently being farmed for hay, should come into Town of Oak Ridge ownership in July. The land is west of Oak Ridge Town Hall, sandwiched between Scoggins Road to the north and Oak Ridge Road to the south.

Under the terms of the contract, that agreement will continue after the town takes ownership “for a term of years until such time as the subject property or any part of it is determined to be needed for public purposes inconsistent” with farming.

“This, in addition to our Town Park and Town Hall properties, will preserve a total of 140.3 acres of open space in our historic district and town core for current and future generations to enjoy,” McClellan shared on Facebook.

On Friday, McClellan explained that the property could have been turned into a development.

“That would have been a heckuva lot of homes on that much acreage,” McClellan said, noting the purchase “does what the owners really wanted to do, which was preserve the open space.”

Courtesy photo Oak Ridge Mayor Spencer Sullivan, seated, signs the real estate purchase and sale agreement as Councilman George McClellan looks on with approval.

Courtesy photo
Oak Ridge Mayor Spencer Sullivan, seated, signs the real estate purchase and sale agreement as Councilman George McClellan looks on with approval.

After a deposit of $10,000 and a balance of $170,000 due at closing — expected to take place on July 2 — the remaining $1.62 million will be paid in annual installments of $180,000 plus 6 percent interest on the outstanding principal balance, according to the contract. The Town of Oak Ridge has until 5 p.m. on June 15 to conduct its due diligence on the property.

Schneider and McClellan said the town can absorb the purchase because of officials’ previous fiscal responsibility.

“I really think this is an extremely wise purchase,” McClellan said, adding the town is at a “sweet spot where this can be done without interfering with our future goals.”

Correction: A previous version of this story indicated the purchase of real property was not on the Town Council’s agenda. The Piedmont Post apologizes for the error; it was listed as Item No. 8B.

 

The purchase of real property was listed as Item No. 8B on the Town Council's agenda.

The purchase of real property was listed as Item No. 8B on the Town Council’s agenda.

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Oak Ridge

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