HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — On Monday, the Houston County Commission accepted an offer from the city of Dothan to buy the Houston County Farm Center.
The vote at Monday morning’s meeting was unanimous, but it won’t be a quick turnaround for the property to change hands.
After months and months of wondering about the fate of the farm center, Houston County Commissioners voted to sell their interest and accept the $2.2. million offer from the city of Dothan.
It was in December when the Houston County Commission was considering a $2.5 million offer from a Florida-based company, BrightWork Reality for the farm center. However, because the city of Dothan already owns 16% of the property, city officials decided they wanted all 42 acres.
“We think the city could do a better job of whatever they do with it than we do,” Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said. “They have money to invest in it to make it a place that gives back to the city long-term.”
The land where Houston County’s Human Resource Office and SpectraCare are located will not be a part of the sale, which brought the asking price down from $2.5 million to $2.2 million.
The sale comes after some resistance from the community. At Monday’s commission meeting, Bobby Lewis, who is one of the candidates running for chairman, asked the commission to wait and consider other offers.
He told the commissioners he knew of investors who are ready to turn the center into a farm-to-market operation equipped with greenhouses and space to sell fresh produce to the public.
The city’s prior partial ownership helped seal the deal.
“They own part of it, we had to have their agreement to sell it,” Culver said. “I am glad the initial buyer came forward because it stimulated where we are now. Without that, we would still be floundering around wondering what we are going to do with it. We are glad to be where we are.”
As of now, there aren’t any firm plans on what the city will do with the property. Dothan’s city manager has said the site has potential for commercial development.
The county commission set the final closing date for the sale to be January 9th, 2023, in order to give the county time to move its offices and items in the storage of the property.
“I think once it gets into the city’s hands, long-term, five to ten years from now, I think the community will see a better investment in that side of town and in that property,” Culver said.
Once again, the closing date for the Houston County Farm Center is January 9th, 2023 but the chairman tells WDHN he hopes to have that deed signed, sealed, and delivered by the time he leaves office.