Lamar discusses property sale for health clinic
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
Lamar Town Council met Jan. 12 for their first regular session of 2015, and the key issue on their agenda was an old one, as council again discussed a potential sale of town-owned property to a private health care company.
For several months, Genesis Health Care has been in negotiations with the town to purchase several tracts of property (in addition to some privately owned parcels) to build a clinic in downtown Lamar. At this meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Guy Clements presented council with a letter of intent drafted by town attorney Gene Warr. The letter was meant to serve as an assurance to Genesis that the town intended to sell them adequate land to facilitate the project.
Council member Mike Lloyd said he felt “uneasy” about the specificity of the letter, noting it included dollar amounts and parcel numbers. Clements said he was told that the figures were merely placeholders, and that prices and parcels would not be finalized until negotiations were complete. Lloyd said his objection to such detail was based on concerns that the sale of a specific parcel, one located behind the Lamar Post Office, would hamper access for existing businesses.
“As I stated in the last meeting, there’s one of those parcels right there I’m totally against because it could close off the road from Depot Drive to Boykin Avenue,” said Lloyd.
Council member Willie Howell echoed Lloyd’s concerns about the level of detail included in the letter of intent. Clements told Howell there was nothing binding in the letter, that it was a formality indicating Lamar’s willingness to sell property so Genesis could proceed with negotiations.
“They had to know what our intentions were so they could bring it up at their board meeting,” said Clements.
Council member Jackie Thomas expressed similar concerns over the letter of intent, and suggested having it redrafted without the parcel numbers and prices. Clements offered that council members should put their concerns in writing for Warr’s consideration as negotiations progress. He repeated the opinion expressed by Mayor Randy Reynolds at council’s December meeting, that Genesis wants to build a clinic nearby and it would be preferable to have it located downtown.
“They’re going to put a place close to Lamar, and I’d rather see it in town than three miles out of town,” said Clements.