School board discusses land plans during work session

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Chilton County Board of Education discussed plans for several parcels of land it owns in the county during a work session at the Central Office on Wednesday.

The board expressed interest in creating a long-term lease with the county to allow it to use more than 13 acres of land the board owns for the annual Chilton County Fair sponsored by the Clanton Kiwanis Club.

The land in question is located off Chilton County Road 28, or Second Avenue South, near the intersection with Alabama Highway 145.

At a regular meeting Dec. 17, 2013, the board approved Superintendent Dave Hayden’s recommendation to submit a proposal to the Alabama State Department of Education to lease the board’s nearly 13-acre tract of land (sometimes referred to as “the old Adair School land”) to the county for the purpose of holding the fair and other events.

Technically, the land is owned by the state and in the custody of the board.

On behalf of the Chilton County Industrial Development Board, Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford presented plans to the board in December 2013 for the land.

Since the Kiwanis Club is a not-for-profit organization, Crawford said at the meeting that the Chilton County Commission told him and club members the land would have to be in the county’s name in order for the club to use it for the fair.

The county and city of Clanton each own portions of land around the board’s land that would also need to be used for the fairgrounds.

Hayden said board attorney John Hollis Jackson has received verbal consent from the state for the board to lease its property to the IDB, which would pay the lease.

After gaining permission from ALSDE to lease the land long-term, the board must vote on final plans for the project before any work begins.

The board also discussed plans for about 75 acres of wooded property designated to the board by the state and intended for the board to keep and not to sell.

The property is located near Lay Dam, near what was referred to in past years as the Jumbo community.

Hayden said state officials advised the board not to try to sell the property, but the board may cut and sell timber from it.

The Alabama Department of Conservation would manage the timber processing for the board, Hayden said.

“Of the timber sales, we would get 80 percent of the proceeds, 10 percent would go to the Department of Conservation and 10 would go to the state,” he said. “We would be responsible to pay $250 per acre to replant the property, which is about $18,000.”

Another parcel of land the board discussed is roughly more than an acre behind Martin Funeral Home near where an old school once stood.

Board members Joe Mims and Pam Price expressed interest in the board selling the land and earmarking the proceeds of the sale for a specific project to be decided later as opposed to putting the money in the general fund.

Mims recommended the board find out exactly how much land it is and how much it appraises for with the Chilton County Tax Assessor’s Office before proceeding.

In other business Wednesday, the board discussed the pros and cons of freezing individual schools’ enrollment and zoning schools in the county in order to prevent lopsided enrollment due to students transferring schools frequently.

The board decided to research the matter more before taking any action.