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Four submit bids for Weaver Elementary property

Rick Wagner • Apr 3, 2018 at 12:27 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Bids are in on the former Weaver Elementary School property the Sullivan County school system wants to sell.

However, the school system plans to have a land survey of the property done before the school board evaluates the bids, so the board will take no action at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting.

The Board of Education closed the school at the end of the 2016-17 school year after a structural engineer said a new 1950s addition to the 1921 building had serious roof structure issues.

The school system split the 10.5 acres into four parcels: the largest one with the school building and some ground, a smaller one of property to the southeast of the building and two small plots adjoining private homes in a subdivision. Bid were due March 20. Four parties submitted bids, but there was a hitch. One bidder on all four parcels gave an amount per acre, and the exact acreage of each plot is unknown, while three other bidders just gave bid amounts for an individual parcel without regard to acreage.

A bidder represented by TCI Group, Jerry Petzoldt Agency LLC, has plans to put a sourdough bread making facility on the property, bid $9,523.81 per acre on all four parcels, which would work out to about $100,000. The potential buyer indicated interest also in parcels 1 and 2 combined if 3 and 4 go to other bidders.

The Weaver Cemetery Association, represented by Marvin Melvin, bid $15,150 for parcel 2, which cemetery officials want to use as future cemetery plots.

Property owner Garmon Bill Edwards bid $800 for parcel 4 that adjoins his residential property. And property owner Roy Edward “Eddie” Huff bid $1,017 for parcel 3 that adjoins his residential property. Both have indicated they wanted to “square off” their lots, with Edwards saying he’s kept the small parcel in question adjoining his property mowed and maintained for 50 years.

Because of the per-acre bids, Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said a survey is needed before the board considers the bids. The board is under no obligation to take the highest bids and can reject all bids. Board Chairman Michael Hughes said the BOE likely will have a called meeting to make a decision on the bids sometime in April.

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