SEVIERVILLE — The city will keep providing downtown parking — just not with a garage.
After a long debate, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 3-2 Monday to have the Public Building Authority purchase the Wade property for $1.2 million. The vote means the city will continue providing surface parking on Bruce Street, using property it had been leasing from the family of the late Dwight Wade Sr.
Aldermen Jerry Loveday, Dale Carr and Claude Ownby voted in favor of the measure, while Aldermen Travis McCroskey and Barry Gibbs voted against it.
Loveday and Mayor Bryan Atchley, who does not have a vote, were the strongest proponents of the purchase.
"Since 1979, I don't think a year has gone by that the city hasn't addressed downtown parking and downtown beautification and we've done nothing," Atchley said.
This was their opportunity to do something to address the issue of parking downtown, he said, and to do it using the bond revenues from the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) project — meaning it wouldn't take any money from the city's general fund.
Loveday said he only approved the CBID project — the $198 million project that includes the Events Center and expansion of Eagles Landing Golf Club — because it offered a chance to improve downtown and to build Veterans Boulevard as well. The bonds for the project are repaid using sales tax revenues from the district.
"For us to walk away from downtown and say "nobody agrees'(on what to do), is short-sighted," he said.
The city originally planned to build a parking deck on the Wade property, which is on Bruce Street between Thoughts "N Things and an electrician's shop. The Board voted to drop those plans in October, but asked for a new appraisal.
Monday's vote means the city can continue providing surface parking on the property, which it had been leasing from the Wades.
Several board members said they were upset when the newest appraisal came back higher than the city's previous appraisal of $935,000.
Gibbs suggested they should negotiate with the Wade family, using those appraisals as a basis. He said at one point the Wades said they believed the fair value of the property was $1.2 million.
His motion to table the purchase failed for lack of a second.
Atchley noted the city paid for both appraisals; if it attempted to negotiate from this point he said it was likely the Wade family would get their own appraisal, and it would be considerably higher than $1.2 million.
Hendrix said the new appraisal came in higher because there were several purchases in that vicinity over the past year. Under the last appraisal, the most recent transaction had been several years earlier, he said.
Ownby took a long time to offer his vote, and said he was reluctant to support that cost but would go ahead. Carr also said he thought the appraisal was high, but he would go ahead with it.
McCroskey, in voting against it, said he didn't believe real estate values had changed that much.
Well it a "WADE" and he is in the in crowd of God Damned Phony Baptist Bastards! He just took advantage of your stupidity like the rest of the Wades!