Pastor Richard Snyder said in a letter drafted to the Bradley County Commission that the church was the oldest institution in the Blue Springs Community and he would like to see it purchase the property to provide recreational opportunities to the community in addition to holding worship services.
Speaking to the Commission Monday, Snyder said he had “always envisioned at some point our church relocating to ... across the street from the school.”
“A year ago all that changed ... our community has been forever changed,” Snyder said of the spring 2011 tornado outbreak.
He said relocating to the former school location would allow the church to be a more integral part of the community.
“Our plans include a total relocation of our church, the repairs of the gymnasium, a future day care facility to assist families in the community, the hosting of Upwards Basketball and Volleyball, community events as needed and a place for county elections,” Snyder said in the letter.
Snyder said many of these programs cannot be offered at the current location
Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe asked if the Commission could sell the property through the bid process.
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said he would like the Commission to consider the church’s ideas.
“This is the kind of thing in my opinion that needs to occur down there, instead of the county taking on liability. We don’t have the money to properly fund taking care of it,” Davis said.
If the Commission were to sell the land, the purchase would be made open to the public either through the bid process or possibly a public auction.
Based on previous discussions about the property, 1st District Commissioner Ed Elkins said the bid contract could stipulate that whoever bought the property would have to provide community programs.
Bradley County Attorney Crystal Freiberg said she would research whether the Commission has the option to restrict use.
First District Commissioner Terry Caywood and 7th District Commissioner Bill Winters said the church seems to be a great fit for what the county wants the property to be used for.
The building and land committee will meet to discuss the details of the church’s plans and consider the best way to move forward during a meeting Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Commission meeting room.
Property was also a topic of discussion as the Commission considered a rezoning request for a piece of land on Old Lower River Road from agriculture to residential.
The Bradley County Commission unanimously passed a request for a property on Old Lower River Road to rezone it to residential.
County planner Corey Divel said the rezoning actually put more restrictions on the property. Divel said the rezoning would allow the developers to build smaller lots but the design was leaving at least 20 percent of the property undeveloped as community space.
Roy Scherer, whose land is across from the rezoned property, expressed concern that a trailer park or mobile home lots would be put on the property and affect his property value.
Surveyor for the project Charles Brown assured the homeowner the rumors about a trailer park were not true. He said the subdivision would not use prefabricated housing.
“We’re trying to preserve and keep intact all the timber that we can. We want to keep it nice. We want to concentrate this subdivision up on the top of the hill … and leave the swells and the valleys and big hills intact. We do not want to tear it up,” Brown said.
Scherer also expressed concerns about drainage from the property.
“The way that land is, everything comes down in front of my house and runs into the creek,” Scherer said.
Stormwater flow could be engineered so it does not have a negative impact on other property any more than before, according to Divel.