Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nashville council delays decision on buying land for West police precinct

Metro Council delayed deciding Tuesday on purchasing a site for a new West Police Precinct after questions arose about the land's value versus its purchase price.
Councilman Charlie Tygard said several residents in the area have brought up major concerns about the former Performance Ford property on Charlotte Pike near White Bridge Road.

"I have concerns about this property," Tygard said. "And I'm not sure all my concerns have been addressed at this point."

Councilman Eric Crafton added his own concerns.

"These are my tax dollars and your tax dollars," Crafton said. "I'm not convinced that this is the best site and if it is, we're overpaying for it."

The Metro property assessor's office has listed the site's value at $2.9 million; the purchase proposal sets a $4.2 million price.

Also of concern to council members was how much of the land is in a flood plain.

Councilwoman Emily Evans said she contacted the finance director's office asking for more details but had not received them. Other council members also sought information unsuccessfully, she said.

"I think it is only fair to give our constituents the chance to get information at a public forum," Evans said.

Twenty council members voted to defer the purchase, 17 were against deferral and two abstained.

Authority appointed

The council also confirmed appointment of nine members to a convention center authority, which will oversee construction and operation of the approximately $600 million center and an attached, roughly $300 million hotel.

The nine authority members are C. Mark Arnold, co-owner of Gray Line Nashville; Marty G. Dickens, former president of AT&T Tennessee; Darrell A. Drumwright, senior pastor of The Temple Church; Ken Levitan, co-president and founder of Vector Management; Vonda McDaniel, benefits representative for the United Steel Workers Local 1055;

William (Willie) McDonald, a veteran banker and chairman of the current convention center commission; W. Lucas (Luke) Simons, former senior managing director with UBS Financial Services; Mona Lisa Warren, a freelance event coordinator; and Leo Waters, a former Metro councilman and NES board chairman.

Mayor Karl Dean has asked Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors or a council member of her choice to serve as a nonvoting member of the board.

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