The county is still searching for land for a consolidated convenience center, and County Commissioner Steven Helton has his sights set on another piece of IDB land that he feels the county should own.
Helton and Sanitation Department director Josh Roberts were hoping the land behind Volunteer Bearing would work, but it turned out to be wetland. At a county Health and Welfare Committee meeting Tuesday night, they suggested another piece of land in Mt. View Industrial Park that is 4 acres right next to Morrison Industries. They are on the agenda for the next IDB meeting and will be requesting the land.
“The reason we are excited about this area is because it solves a lot of problems,” said Helton. “First and foremost is cost. What my proposal is and what I want to present to the IDB is for them to give us this land. I feel like it is our land and I do not want to have to purchase this. They may come back and say we want a cost for this, but in my opinion, and this is Steven Helton Commissioner’s opinion, it is county land. We have funded the IDB. We have given them the initial land that started the IDB.”
Helton was hoping to get a motion showing support from the committee as well as the full Warren County Commission before asking the IDB for the land.
“I think it would be more powerful going to the IDB if the commission feels this is the direction we need to go,” said Helton. “I know Don Alexander specifically is not in favor of this. He feels this will harm the Industrial Park and potential growth, but I have talked to a number of the board members and they really don’t see the harm in it.”
Asked Commissioner Kasey Owens, “You said you spoke to the IDB and they were not worried this would affect jobs coming in?”
“I didn’t say that. I had spoken to some individual members and some of them don’t have a worry about it. I have yet to find one that is completely against it, but I haven’t called all of the IDB members. The worry is, and I think Don expressed this at their meeting, is that it would be an eyesore when you drove by,” said Helton.
Commissioner Carlene Brown agreed it could be seen as county land, but acknowledged it is also in the middle of the industrial park.
“I recommend going to them first before taking it to the whole commission because to me it is like pulling all this together to go to them and I think a smaller representation is going to be a better welcomed conversation. I feel like if you carry all your guns loaded and say we are here and we want this I don’t know if that is the best approach,” said Brown.
Brown also recommended getting realtors involved that will look for the specific piece of land the county is needing. Commissioner Joseph Stotts agreed and asked why they have not been going through realtors.
County Executive Jimmy Haley said they have been trying to find property without going through a realtor because that’s when property owners begin to see dollar signs if they know county government is interested in buying their land.
Roberts said it would look good having support coming from the Health and Welfare Committee on getting the 4 acres donated to the county from the IDB. However, the motion showing support in asking the IDB for the land failed, with Commissioner Blaine Wilcher voting yes and Stotts and Owens voting no.
Helton and Roberts will still be attending the IDB meeting on July 21. If the IDB shuts down their ideas during the meeting, Roberts requested the committee hold a special called meeting to figure something out before new commissioners potentially get voted in.