Already with a Blue Building it doesn't know what to do with, the city of McMinnville is thinking about buying more property.
Under consideration is buying 11.7 acres on Bell Street, property currently occupied by Metal Products Company. On that land sits a 48,000-square-foot industrial building that's 57 years old. This can fall into the city's hands for the low, low price of just $750,000. Think of the savings.
Snarky introduction aside, I'm not against the city buying this property. To be technically correct, it's the Water Department which is looking to make the deal.
The Water Department operates under the control of city government, but it generates all its own revenue from water bills. It doesn't rely on tax dollars.
So purchasing the property would have no impact on your city taxes. I can't say what your water bill might look like in a few years, but your city property taxes will not be impacted.
What I like about the property, which is situated next to Pepper Branch Park, is its potential. Perhaps some of the land which is not used for water purposes could go to the city for eventual expansion of Pepper Branch Park, which booms during summer months.
City officials have wisely placed an emphasis on Parks and Recreation in recent years and this would stretch right into that focus. The proposed dog park could be located there
I haven't toured the 48,000-square-foot building and noted its general condition, but this could, at long last, be a permanent home for McMinnville Police Department.
There's plenty of parking with a fenced lot. It's near densely populated areas. And there should be plenty of space left after the Water Department stakes its claim. The Police Department uses some 11,000 square feet at its current spot on Red Road.
The best thing about finding a permanent home for the Police Department is it will finally allow the city to put closure on the Blue Building property. I'm convinced nothing will ever happen to the Blue Building until the Police Department issue is settled because there's always the underlying sense the Police Department will return to that spot one day.
I think the Blue Building property, just a block away from the heart of downtown, has far better uses than a Police Department. Just think of the thriving downtown district in Nashville. The philosophy behind such a district is to add more restaurants, hotels and entertainment to give visitors more to do. You wouldn't want to slap a Police Department between The Ryman and Bridgestone Arena. The Blue Building property should enhance downtown's current momentum.
I'm anxious to see how the Water Department's land acquisition plan plays out. If the 11.7 acres and part of the building could be used to provide other city services, this is a deal with real potential.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.