No plans yet for Miracle Field site

Apr. 07, 2013 @ 07:31 PM

HIGH POINT — Now that the city and the school system appear to have worked out a deal for High Point to acquire 10 acres next to the Miracle Field, two questions arise: What are the plans for the property, and when might any proposed uses be implemented?
The answers to both are vague at this point.
Earlier this year, High Point reached an agreement to buy 9.8 acres at the entrance to the High Point Athletic Complex at School Park and Shadybrook roads from Guilford County Schools.
Last month, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners effectively approved the sale by passing on its opportunity to purchase the site, which it was afforded under state law.
According to city officials, the sale is not final at this point because it is still subject to an upset bid period, during which a third party could theoretically offer the school board more than the $300,000 High Point is slated to pay for it.
City leaders have long been interested in acquiring the land, possibly to add parking and new features for the Miracle League, which hosts baseball games for disabled and special-needs children on adjacent property.
Officials have not yet discussed any potential uses with the City Council or determined a funding source.
“At some point, we’re going to make some improvements out there for the benefit of the young people in High Point,” said City Manager Strib Boynton. “I dont want to say ‘No’ for next year or ‘Yes’ for next year. We’re in the process of looking at some numbers now.”
Boynton said the timing will hinge, in part, on whether the possible loss of several million dollars the city gets through the state and Guilford County comes to pass this spring and summer.
Possible uses for the 10 acres are being contemplated that would benefit the entire athletic complex, of which the Miracle Field is a part, said city Parks & Recreation Director Allen Oliver.
On some Saturdays, youth football, baseball, soccer and Miracle League games are going on at the same time, which can make parking at the complex scarce, he said.
“We do have room to put adequate parking on (the 10 acres) to really help us out, and we still have room to do another soccer field in there, and maybe a picnic shelter,” Oliver said.
Councilman Jim Davis, a past member of the High Point Parks & Recreation Commission, said he’s familiar with the expansion needs of the facility. He said he would like to wait to see whether possible state funding cuts materialize before deciding whether the city should invest in developing the site in the near future.
“The Miracle League is such a premier facility, it’s going to grow. I’d say it’s one of the best in the state, if not the country,” he said.
The city and the school board went back and forth for nearly a year before settling on a purchase price for the land.
In April 2012, the city offered to buy the site for $294,300, which is its 2012 assessed tax value. The board turned this offer down, and 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 appraised the site for $255,000, and the board’s counteroffer to this was $335,000, before coming down to $300,000.
The city will use parks and recreation bond funds to cover the bulk of the purchase, with about $5,000 of two-thirds bonds making up the balance.
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531