Ownership of proposed Alabama Farm Center site transferred back

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

The Alabama Agriculture and Exhibition Center Cooperative District board has officially given up ownership of the 520 acres deeded to the district in anticipation of the Alabama Farm Center being developed there.

The land will go back to being owned jointly by the city and the county.

A limited warranty deed had been approved in March 2021 by the Clanton City Council and the Chilton County Commission giving the cooperative district ownership of the property as long as certain requirements were met.

“None of the stipulations were met,” Cooperative District board chairman Matthew Mims said during the board’s meeting on June 1.

One requirement had been that the Alabama Farm Center break ground within 12 months of the agreement being signed.

Official updates on the Alabama Farm Center, which was initially announced as a centennial celebration project of the Alabama Farmers Federation for 2021, were unavailable at the meeting.

Those present said there had been zero communication from Alfa and the Alabama Farmers Federation on whether the project would move forward.

“If it’s not over, I need to hear from Alfa, and the mayor (Jeff Mims for Clanton) needs to hear from Alfa,” Commission Chairman Jimmie Hardee, who is not a member of the board but was in attendance, said.

Hardee said now that the property once again belongs to the county and the city, a cooperative district is no longer needed.

“The cooperative district should not be able to govern over it, if it’s our land,” Hardee said.

Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims, who is not a member of the board but was in attendance, said a letter would need to be sent from the city and the county to the cooperative district board asking that the Alabama Agriculture and Exhibition Center Cooperative District be dissolved.

Mims said the proper next steps would need to be discussed with the board’s attorney.

“We’ll find out,” Matthew Mims said. “I’ll call … and see what we need to do.”

He said keeping the cooperative district might be a good tool in the future, regardless of what is built on the property, because it allows an extra fee to be collected specifically for the district.

A second motion was to return $275,000 that had been donated for a fire station on the Alabama Farm Center site to the donor.