Miracle Field talks continue

Dec. 28, 2012 @ 04:43 PM

If the latest dollar amount on the table is any indication, city and school officials still have a ways to go in their efforts to transact a piece of property on which to expand High Point’s Miracle Field.
The Guilford County Board of Education has offered to sell 9.81 acres at School Park and Shadybrook roads to the city for $335,000. That came in response to an offer put forth by the city last month to purchase the land for $255,000 — the amount that High Point had the property appraised for in October.
City officials are negotiating with the school board and, based on the discussions, they said they may have an updated offer to purchase for the City Council to consider on Jan. 7.
“The acquisition of that has long been a priority of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the previous City Council. There’s still a great deal of support for it,” said City Manager Strib Boynton.
The city would use the site to add parking and new features for the Miracle League, which hosts games for handicapped and special-needs children.
The first offer from the city that the school board turned down was for $294,300, which is the 2012 assessed tax value of the land. School officials asked that the city have the site appraised, which it did, at a cost of about $3,000 by Michael S. Clapp & Associates Inc., a Winston-Salem real estate appraiser.
Clapp’s finding of $255,000 added further confusion, following the school system’s own appraisal of the site, which came in at $400,000. The city has a shared-use agreement with the schools that gives them free access to the High Point Athletic Complex. The agreement also requires that the land in question, which is adjacent to the complex, be used only for a middle school or recreational purposes, which would preclude zoning the site to allow for the type of multifamily residential use that was considered a possibility in the school appraisal.
Clapp determined that, without the agreement in place, the site would be worth $335,000 — the figure that school officials apparently took into account in their response to the appraisal.
“(School) staff contacted us and said, ‘Are you willing to look at a higher value?’ I presented that to council in closed session and they gave us some direction on going back to the school board,” said Assistant City Manager Pat Pate.
Upon its expiration in 2016, the agreement can be terminated by the city or the school board. Without action, it will automatically renew for another 10 years.