McMinnville officials are looking a gift horse in the mouth with the offer of property in an area just off Beersheba Highway.
Land on Sally’s Alley has been offered to the city free of charge. Officials began developing the area into a park in August 2012. The area is considered a flood plain by the state and was closed to the public prior to that time. Currently, there is a walking trail and river access.
The gift was considered by the Parks and Recreation Committee.
“I think when property becomes available and someone wants to give it to you, you might as well take it,” said Vice Mayor Ben Newman.
The property is adjacent the city park, less than an acre and covered with kudzu.
“It’s next to our other kudzu patch,” said Newman.
Kudzu is a climbing, invasive species that destroys native plants by smothering them under a solid blanket of leaves, encircling woody stems and tree trunks, and breaking branches or uprooting entire trees and shrubs. Once established, kudzu grows at a rate of one foot per day.
“Has it ever been improved?” asked city attorney Tim Pirtle.
Aldermen Everett Brock said, “You can’t tell. It’s covered with kudzu.”
Pirtle suggested the city conduct an EPA phase I study, which is generally considered the first step in the process of environmental due diligence, on the property before accepting it due to unknown past uses of the property.
Committee members agreed. The property was unanimously accepted, if it passes an EPA phase I study.