Schools Get OK To Purchase ‘Pease’ Of Farm

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Cannon County Schools received the permission of the Cannon County Commission to purchase 6.27 acres of land located next to Cannon County High School Saturday.

The Commission voted 6-1 to approve the purchase, with Commission Russell Reed voting against doing so.

Commissioners Mark Barker, Jim Bush, Todd Hollandsworth, Tony Neal, Clint Higgins and Bob Stoetzel voted in favor. Commissioners Kevin George, Kevin Mooneyham and Jimmy Mingle were unable to attend Saturday’s quarterly meeting.

The Cannon County Board of Education has already approved the purchase of the 6.27 acres, for $30,000.

The property is currently part of the Beaver Dam Farm, although on the site map presented to Commissioners Saturday by Director of Schools Barbara Parker and Dale Nichols of Bob Parks Realty it is referenced as the “Pease Farm.”

Beaver Dam Farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. It is the former 1,000-acre plantation of prominent Tennessee Congressman William Cannon Houston, serving from 1905-to-1919. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1920.

The 6.27 acres runs adjacent to the football and softball fields at the high school.

Three of four tracts of the farm are for sale. In addition to the 6.27 acres, also for sale are 8.82 acres which run off of McMinnville Highway, and 7.91 acres behind Reed’s Builders Supply.

Nichols said those tracts would soon be put up for auction, but indicated he is open to negotiating with the school system or the county to purchase them before that is done.

The William Cannon Houston House and 6.78 acres property off ofHouston Laneis not for sale. 

Stipulations of the proposed transaction are that a fence is put up to separate the property that will remain in current ownership from the football field and that if the firing of a cannon during games continues that it is directed away from the home.

In other business Saturday the Commission:

• Approved a motion to allow the Cannon County Ambulance Service to solicit bids for the purchase of a new ambulance. Emergency Medical Services Director Ricky Cope said a new one will cost between $105,000 and $115,000. The ambulance service has already received a grant in the amount of $15,000 to go toward the purchase. Cope said another $15,000 could come from selling the old ambulance and another $20,000 could be used from the department’s equipment fund.

• Decided to discuss at its September meeting whether it will vote to place a referendum on increasing the local option sales tax from 1.75 percent to 2.75 percent on the ballot for the November election. 

• Defeated by a 5-2 vote a resolution to change from $50 for each quarterly meeting to $25 per meeting the amount of compensation commissioners receive for attending meetings. The commission is now meeting at least every month, with special called meetings as necessary. The total increased cost to taxpayers per year would have been $300 had the motion been approved. Commissioners Reed and Bush voted against. Reed withdrew a motion to have the commission meet eight times per year.

• Thea Prince of the Solid Waste Study Committee updated commissioners on the group’s efforts to find ways to cut costs and/or improve services at the Cannon County Convenience Center and in the disposal/removal of solid waste. Prince said the research has included keeping the current service provided by the county as is or contracting solid waste collection and disposal to a private firm. Commissioners asked Prince and the group to continue to study the various options and to try and attach some costs to the different proposals.

• Commissioner Bush provided an update on efforts being made to run a water line to the home of an elderly woman who lives on Blair Branch Rd. Bush said a fund has been established at First National Bank to raise funds for the project. It is called the “Eleanor Watkins Water Line Fund” and donations can be made to it at the bank. The cost of tapping into the DeKalb County Utility water supply and running a water pipe to Watkins’ home is about $3,400, Bush said. He said he has already received offers of free labor and supplies from several area businesses, churches and community organizations.

Commander Bobby Ferrell of American Legion Post 279 came before the Commission to speak about the organization’s various community activities. One includes a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanction event planned for October. Ferrell also told Commissioners about the group’s annual funding of local students to attend Boys and Girls State, and its efforts to form a Sons of the American Legion unit and a local American Legion Baseball team.

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