Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

June 12, 2013

Panel votes to sell Snodgrass building to city

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — The old Snodgrass building behind the Cumberland County Courthouse and adjoining property may be sold to the city of Crossville from the county after the building and grounds committee voted to do so upon hearing a formal offer to purchase presented by the city.

"I am here on behalf and at the request of the city of Crossville to offer to purchase or long-term lease the Snodgrass building and the adjoining three parcels of property," Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III said.

The Snodgrass building is the small green building behind the courthouse that used to house the Veterans Service Office. The building has become dilapidated and in need of repairs.

Graham told the committee the city is hosting and sponsoring several events in the downtown Crossville area and the need of restrooms is vital for the public who are participating in the events.

"The city is looking at investing the funds and building ADA complying and handicapped accessible restrooms in the lower half of the building that would be open most of the time and would remain open during events," Mayor Graham said.

Graham said the city would offer half of the appraised value of the property, which appraised at $103,000. Graham said the city would prefer just to buy the property outright, rather than extend a long-term agreement.

"It's my understanding that part of the amphitheater is built on property that is owned by (county attorney) Randal Boston," Harry Sabine, 1st District commissioner said. "Is that not true?"

"Yes, but I believe there was an easement involved. Wasn't there?" Graham asked Boston.

"Not yet that I'm aware of, but I will be happy to sign it over. Just send a description over and I'll sign it," Boston said.

"Are you going to tear the building down and build the restrooms?" Dave Hassler, 3rd District commissioner asked.

"No," Graham replied.

"I would not vote to sell. I'm comfortable with the lease. I mean, who knows what the future will bring. The county owns property on both sides of the building. Again, we are still pouring money into the old high school (portion of the Justice Center). If the city doesn't do anything with that whole thing (Snodgrass building) it'll come back to the county and we'll have to. I'd make the city tearing it down a part of the conditions of selling it to the city," Sabine said.

"Oh, I support and would like to accept their offer. I don't see the county needing that building. The only thing we could use that area for would be more parking, and the county's already decided not to do that. I don't ever want to see it come back to the county. It will become less valuable and I think it's a reasonable offer," Carmin Lynch, 9th District commissioner said.

He then motioned to accept the city's offer of purchasing the building and property for $51,028, or upon the details being worked out between the city and county attorneys.

Hassler supported the motion and said, "Everyone I've talked to said they don't want it torn down."

"The plans are not to tear it down," Graham said.

"I see no reason for the county to keep the building," Sonya Rimmer, 8th District commissioner and building and grounds committee chairman, said.

Sabine voted no and the rest of the committee voted in favor.

Voting in favor were commissioners Caroline Knight, 2nd District; Hassler; Joe Koester, 5th District; Rimmer; and Lynch.

Roy Turner, 7th District commissioner, did not attend the meeting.

The full county commission will consider the action and vote on the matter in a future county commission meeting.