Our View: Proposal benefits Miracle League

Jan. 09, 2013 @ 01:48 AM

It’s a fair offer. Actually, it’s a more-than-fair offer.
And its acceptance by the Guilford County Board of Education would benefit an important community activity and also put an end to a matter that has caused ill-will between the High Point City Council and Guilford school board.
On Monday, City Council voted 5-4 to authorize a $300,000 offer to Guilford schools for the purchase of 9.8 acres of land at the intersection of School Park and Shadybrook roads near the High Point Athletic Complex in north High Point. The land, adjacent to the Miracle Field site, would be used to expand Miracle League facilities there that host athletic events and games for special-needs and disabled children. The 9.8-acre site, which at one time was considered for a school, is owned by Guilford County Schools.
Council’s split vote stemmed from the belief by some members that the city’s offer should have been lower, based on a city-sanctioned appraisal that valued the land at $255,000 and the 2012 county assessed tax value of $294,300. The city’s appraisal cost $3,000 and, ironically, was demanded by school officials, who last year rejected an offer of $294,300 from the city. School officials, during discussions last year, pointed to a $400,000 value placed on the land in 2011 based on it potentially being developed for multifamily residential uses.
During Monday’s meeting, Councilman Jason Ewing, who voted against the $300,000 offer, noted, “The price of real estate right now — you can’t find real estate anywhere going for 10 or 12 percent above its appraised value. ... I just don’t see it as a benefit in overspending for this piece of property.”
Ewing makes a reasonable objection, with the Council-approved offer being nearly 18 percent above the $255,000 appraised value. And actually, we don’t find fault with the four Council members who voted no — Ewing, Foster Douglas, Jay Wagner and Becky Smothers.
However, with city officials saying about $295,000 of the amount could come from parks and recreation bond funds already approved by city voters and the remaining $5,000 from two-thirds bonds, the purchase price would not add a significant new burden to High Point taxpayers.
The city’s $300,000 offer is more than fair. Now, the Guilford County Board of Education should say yes and let the Miracle League project — which provides an important service to a special segment of the area’s population — continue to grow and improve.