Council considers purchase of Avondale property
by David Atchison
PELL CITY – After almost four years, the council will once again consider the possible purchase of the former Avondale Mills plant site.

City officials announced Tuesday that a special called council meeting is set for 1 p.m. today in the council chambers to “consider litigation and the possible purchase of property currently owned by Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC.”

In 2009, the council failed to vote for the purchase of the former Avondale Mills properties due to the lack of a motion.

The mayor at that time, Bill Hereford, told the council that Pell City Tifton Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga, agreed to sell all the Avondale Mills property the company owned in Pell City for $2.47 million or the well site and 28-acre Avondale Mills plant site together for $2.2 million.

Company officials wanted to sell the property “as is.”

However, council members at the time said that before purchasing the property a Phase II environmental study was needed, as well as an appraisal.

Some council members at the time, including current Council President James McGowan and former Councilman Greg Gossett, said they were in favor of buying only a portion of the property for the site of a new library. Councilwoman Dot Woods said the city could not afford the property because it had so much debt.

After the non-vote by the council, lawsuits followed between the owners of the former Avondale Mills property and the city.

Eventually in a court settlement, after the city attempted to condemn the former Avondale well site, the city agreed to pay $1.1 million for the 1-acre plot that had a well that supplied a third of the water to the city.

Following the settlement, the City Council rejected repeated rezoning requests from Pell City Tifton Properties LLC for the former Avondale site, which was zoned for manufacturing. Company officials said they were forced to file a lawsuit so the former mill site could be developed commercially and for neighborhood townhouses.

City officials have not spoken publicly about the current lawsuit or a possible settlement, although the mayor and council went into executive session Monday night to discuss pending litigation.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.
© 2013