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Blue Building officially surplus property
Blue Building from outside.jpg

The Blue Building property has been declared surplus property. Its fate will now be in the hands of the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The city Building and Grounds Committee met Tuesday to discuss deeming several city-owned properties and numerous safe deposit boxes as excess items that can be disposed of. Lots are located on Durham Street, South Riverside Drive, Sunset Point Road, Towles Avenue, the Blue Building and its almost 5 acres, and an adjacent smaller lot that’s slightly larger than 1 acre.

Committee members Aldermen Steve Harvey, Stacey Harvey and Everett Brock were joined in the meeting by Mayor Ryle Chastain and Aldermen Rachel Kirby, Sally Brock and Zach Sutton. 

Last on the list, but garnering the most discussion, was the Blue Building property. 

Kirby asked, “If it’s declared surplus, can we decide to keep them?”

“Of course,” said city attorney Tim Pirtle. “Declaring properties surplus doesn’t mean you have to sell them.” 

Steve Harvey stated, “So, this is the easy part.”

“I make a motion to declare the property surplus,” said Stacey Harvey.

The committee unanimously voted in favor of declaring the Blue Building and the adjacent property as surplus. 

When questioned by Steve, Pirtle again reiterated that the city must offer a competitive bidding process if officials decide to sell the property –  those options being offering it to the highest bidder at a live auction, or accepting sealed bids. 

Steve asked about selling it as a private property owner would.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that putting a For Sale sign on it with X number of dollars would be competitive,” said Pirtle. “The first person to dial the number might be the purchasers, whereas everyone else who didn’t see the sign go up that day would have been excluded from the process. Does that make sense?”

Steve stated, “So, nonprofits might not be bound to those rules?”

“We would have to talk about that,” said Pirtle. “I cannot give you a clear answer on that without …” 

Everett interrupted, “We give to Habitat and we give to HOME.”

“That’s true,” said Pirtle. “I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m just saying that I don’t want to give you an opinion that will be quoted into the paper without considering it first.”

Pirtle echoed his previous statement that the city is bound by state law to offer a competitive bidding process.

Also declared surplus property:

• A vacant lot on Durham Street. 

Steve asked, “Can you see any need the city would have for it?”

“No,” said McMinnville Public Works Department director Frank Southard. “It’s straight up. It’s a hill.”

The only interested parties, said Southard, would likely be the adjacent neighbors due to it being between two privately owned pieces of property. 

• A vacant lot on South Riverside Drive. 

“This is located straight across the river from Smooth Rapids,” said Southard. “How we received that piece of property I do not know. It is a bluff. If you go down to Rocket Park and look across the river, it’s pretty much straight up.”

Pirtle said the city must determine if there is an easement that allows access to the property, because it is against state law to sell property that’s land locked and cannot be accessed by the new owner.

• Property located on Sunset Point Road.

“This is the property that HOME is wanting,” said Southard. 

Homeless of McMinnville Effort seeks to establish Prosperity Point. Tiny homes will be used as temporary housing for homeless individuals that organization members are assisting in transitioning to permanent housing. The city approved transferring 6.17 acres. Declaring the property as surplus is one step in that process.

• Property located on Towles Avenue.

“The water tower used to stand there,” said Southard. “That’s how the city obtained the property. It was used for a water tower years ago.”

The property is narrow.

“Neighbors would be the best thing for it,” said Southard. “I don’t think it’s wide enough to build on.”

• Safe deposit boxes left behind when Regions Bank vacated the first floor of City Hall. No discussion was held.

The list of items will be sent to the full Board or Mayor and Aldermen on how best to dispose of the properties and safe deposit boxes, or, as pointed out by Alderman Rachel Kirby, if board members wish to retain ownership of them.