The board also learned that an MRC officer has resigned.
The MRC, which is looking to develop the 11-acre area that contains the lots, voted 6-1 to sell the property for $100,000, only a third of the $300,000 the MRC paid for it. MRC Chairman Ron Francis said the city plans to use the property, bordered by Hedges Street to the north and West Dixie Avenue to the south, to expand adjacent park property located just west of the lots.
“Since most of our property is on this (west) side of the city park, they asked us if we could sell it to them so they could expand the park at a future time,” Francis said.
Board member Floyd Northcutt, the only member to vote against the sale, said he was making a “protest vote.”
“I don’t see it helps us in any way,” Northcutt said after the meeting. “It doesn’t put any money in our bank account.”
Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said the MRC is required to vote to make an offer on the property, located south of the Marietta City Cemetery between Powder Springs and West Atlanta streets, before the City Council can take it up.
“They have to take the lead, and they took the lead,” Tumlin said.
The park, as well as a road going through the planned development between Hedges Street and West Dixie Avenue, are to be funded with SPLOST money, Tumlin said. Eventually, it could be developed as residential, commercial or mixed use, though Tumlin would like to see part of it used for cemetery expansion.
“This area has a lot of potential, and the road and expanding the park is basically the first step,” he said.
The MRC is a tax-exempt organization formed by the City Council in 2003. It received $2.1 million from the city in 2006 to be used as a land-buying fund. It used the money to secure a loan from the Bank of North Georgia and began buying up land across from the conference center on Powder Springs Street, where it has spent more than $4 million. It had planned to turn over the 11-acre tract to a developer, but has been unable to do so because of the economy.
Also Wednesday, Francis said MRC Treasurer Mark Gibbs, president of Oakley Development Co., had resigned because he is moving to Charlotte, N.C., to take a development position there.