PICKENS COUNTY—A deal on property between the City of Easley and the Pickens County School District does not seem likely anytime soon.
The School Board voted, in a 5-1 decision, not to accept the City of Easley’s recent offer of $20,000 plus legal fees on four acres of land near John T. Simpson School and West End Hall. Judy Edwards, who represents Easley, was the only board member who did not vote to reject the city’s offer.
The school district had originally offered the property for $25,000.
“I think our offer to the city was generous,” said Board Chairman Alex Saitta. “In comparison, the district has a half acre lot for sale now on McAlister Road that the county values at $26,000. Land in Easley is very expensive.”
Easley City Administrator Fox Simons reacted to the decision saying, “If they want to keep it, they can keep it.”
Saitta says the city has shown interest in the land in the past.
“The City of Easley owns West End Hall at 201 South Fifth Street, but the school district owns the 2 acres of land below it,” said Board Chairman Alex Saitta. “The City of Easley also owns the Head Start Building (West D Avenue – next to the John T. Simpson School), but the district owns the 2 acres below it. In the past, the city expressed interest in both properties.”
Simons says the city still has some interest.
“We still have to clear up the title issues, but we still have a valid lease there for another 15-20 years,” he said. “At this point we’re just going to let (the issue settle).”
The board chairman says the opening asking price was much higher.
“When this new board convened, many thought it made sense for the city of Easley to own the two tracks, and most of us thought $30,000 was a fair price for the four acres,” said Saitta. “The city informally bid $20,000. We made an effort to meet them half way, offering the land for $25,000 or $6,250 per acre. The city doesn’t want to spend more than $20,000 or $4,000 an acre.”
Councilman Ben Trotter says he agrees with the decision to put the brakes on the sale.
“Easley is a nice place and we made them a nice offer for some Easley property,” said Trotter. “I think it was worth it. I’m going to vote not to sell it to them unless they give us the original price of $25,000.”
Simons says the city did not initiate discussions about the land.
“The school board is the one who started all this,” said Simon. “We’re trying to work with them, but they’ve shown a little inflexibility, I guess.”