Bids for gym discussed

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Purchase bids regarding an old gymnasium in town were discussed during the August meeting of the Kenbridge Town Council.

Two bids were presented during the meeting, with one prompting the council to enter closed session due to the bidder requesting confidentiality.

The property is located at 533 E. 5th Ave. and was the former site of the Kenbridge High School gymnasium.

Town Attorney Calvin Spencer said the building and its purpose could have an impact on the town, and encouraged the council to consider the highest bidder.

“The use that that facility goes to is very important to the long-term plan of the town,” Spencer said.

The first bidder was Bettye Langley-Lyles, of Kenbridge. The proposed use for the building, according to the application from Langley-Lyles discussed during the meeting, includes a drive-in movie theater and having the space be a central area for sporting events, family gatherings and meetings.

Langley-Lyles, according to the information presented during the meeting, offered a $100,000 bid for the building. The payment would be under a lease-purchase agreement with incremental quarterly payments of $2,500.

There would be an option for a balloon payment due at the end of the third year after proof of concept has been established, according to Town Manager Robyn Fowler.

The second bidder was from Stephen Israel, of Kenbridge. Israel offered a bid of $5,000 to purchase the property in 2017.

According to the application presented during the meeting, Israel offered to reimburse the town for some utilities, pressure washing and potentially painting the exterior of building. In the application, Israel made a request to discuss the proposed use in closed session.

Mayor Emory Hodges said he understood the request for confidentiality, saying that potential business information being released to the public could potentially lead to another resident taking the idea as their own.

“They don’t want public knowledge if they are getting ready to open up a ‘so-and-so’ and I say, ‘Wow, that’s a good idea’ and I go and do the same thing,” Hodges said.

Council took no action on the bids.

“I don’t think the council can take any action … but at least we’ll have … to start thinking about what proposals we have on the table,” Hodges said.