The Clinton City Council held a special meeting Monday evening to discuss purchasing some property.
Mayor Roger Rorie told the council that the Payton Dodge auto dealership is moving and the city has been offered the chance to buy the land for about $320,000. The dealership is relocating to the old Ford place south of town, Rorie said.
Rorie said if the city bought the property, the water and police departments would be housed there. The city already has land for the fire department on Highway 65 South across from the county hospital.
The mayor said he is not especially in favor of the purchase. He said he would like to see the city buy up the vacant buildings in downtown Clinton and "incubate businesses." By that, he said he meant to offer the buildings at a low rent to folks wanting to open a business, and at a set time sell those buildings at a reduced cost to the renter.
The City Council will take up the proposal at its regular meeting this Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Municipal Airport. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Other discussion at the meeting was about some possible GIF (General Improvement Fund) money from the state. Councilwoman Gayla Bradley said she had been talking with state Rep. Josh Miller and state Sen. David Sanders and both sounded optimistic about the city’s chances for some money.
Some projects the council found interesting were improving the baseball fields at the school; enhancing the Kiddie Park; "prettying up" the downtown, as Councilwoman Wendy Russ put it; and building a swimming pool.
Councilman Johnny Moore sounded a note of caution, saying, "One thing you have to remember about grants — you have to match them."
Bradley asked the question of fellow councilors: "If you could do anything in Clinton, what would you want to do?" The council will take up that question again Thursday.
After the meeting, Clinton Resource Officer Steve Bradley and baseball coach Robert Prince met with two of the councilors and the mayor to talk about much-needed repairs and updates at the baseball field at the school. The mayor told them there were a lot of questions as to who is responsible for what at the fields, which are owned by the school but mostly operated by the city. They decided to have a meeting with School Board members and the superintendent to hash out their concerns.