Oneonta to issue invitation to bid on Heritage course and clubhouse

The Oneonta City Council approved a draft inviting bids for the former Heritage Golf Course and Twin Oaks Clubhouse. Browning Family, LLC, transferred ownership of the property Dec. 31, 2018, to the city.

The bid request reserves the city’s right to reject any and all bids, to accept the most responsible and responsive bidder, and first right of refusal should the winner ever decide to sell. City manager/economic developer Ed Lowe explained that the city will first rezone the property R-1, the most restrictive residential designation, from its current agriculture classification.

He explained further that city leaders do not intend to make financial gain from the sale. He said the city intends to act to maintain property values in the development.

In the Jan. 8 council meeting, Mayor Ross Norris invited questions from any of the large number of Heritage residents present. Three offered such.

One asked had the city considered retaining ownership and hiring someone to operate the course. Norris responded bluntly, “No,” before offering brief reasoning of not competing with the other privately owned course in the city. Lowe elaborated that the city would have inherent advantages which would place the other course (Limestone Springs) in an unfavorable position.

Another asked about upkeep of the property prior to any transfer. Norris noted the city will perform minimal necessary maintenance. City attorney Alex Smith explained the city has transferred the utilities to a city account and will keep those operating.

Attendees did not have copies of the draft letter. One asked if the city would make considerations beyond highest bidder in making the award. Smith referred to the prior statement that the city could reject all bids and would award based on “the most responsible and responsive.”

Council members reminded attendees that they have scheduled a public hearing at 5:10 p.m., on Tuesday, Jan. 22, for further input on any proposals.

Police chief Charles Clifton reported his department had received assistance from the Alabama Tactical Team in investigating an incident and arresting a suspect in a Dec. 18 shooting which left a young man paralyzed. He announced the arrest had occurred a day earlier.

Lowe advised that work nears completion on the Wallace State administration building and envisions an April open house for the downtown facility.

Councilors proposed an ordinance dealing with Lemley Drive (mistakenly labeled Gilbreath Drive on the agenda and in discussion.) Lowe cited need for the action to permit progress toward planned construction of a new DHR facility on present city property touching Lemley and Second Avenue West. Members scheduled a public hearing on that possible ordinance at 5:20 p.m., following the Heritage hearing.

Councilman Nathaniel Butler won approval for purchase of a 2019 Mule Pro for Park and Recreation Department use on road rights of way and medians. Lowe asked that Butler’s motion indicate the $14,956.88 cost would come from gas tax funds.

Butler announced, also, that a representative of the local Disabled American Veterans group had informed him that group no longer wishes to use previously requested city property for a memorial. The group has found a larger, more advantageous available piece of property.

Councilor Richard Phillips asked approval to accept the only bid for the city’s surplussed 2003 and 2005 Crown Vic police cars. That bid offered $500 for each.

Councilmen Hal Blackwood and Danny Robinson joined Norris, Butler, and Phillips for the Jan. 8 meeting; councilor Tonya Rogers did not attend. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.