Valdosta Daily Times

July 23, 2013

Lowndes BOE honored for CTAE program support

School board also hears real estate proposal

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — During the Lowndes County board meeting held on Monday night, recognition was given to the board by Major Norene Olsen.

Olsen has been active with the Career, Technical and Agricultural (CTAE) program for many years and she came to thank them for their support of the CTAE program and also to speak about the GCTAE conference she presided over, which had the theme of “Education Revolution.”

“I am here to thank you. I could not have been successful at this if it weren’t for your support and your approval and all the work you do for the students at Lowndes County,” said Olsen.  

Following this special thanks was a presentation by Justin Carswell of McWhirter Realty Partners, a company out of Smyrna that focuses on commercial real estate development in the Southeast. McWhirter Realty is interested in the approximately .69 acre plot of land located at 1112 St. Augustine Road that is currently owned by Lowndes County.

Carswell’s presentation to the board explained that McWhirter is interested in the slot of land for retail restaurant development. McWhirter is interested in putting in a nationally recognized tenant.

Whle offers of this type have been made many times over the years, the board felt that this offer was unique due to the fact that McWhirter is planning to offer the school the 1114 St. Augustine Road plot, located directly beside the 1112 slot if they decide to move forward with the deal. The 1114 plot currently holds the Scottish Inn and has a total of 1.559 acres.

Carswell explained during the meeting that he felt the 1112 slot would offer a better spot for retail growth and the 1114 slot would be better for school growth.

He cited that the frontage of St. Augustine Road and access to St. Augustine Road through Valhalla Drive would be beneficial for a retail facility. He also explained that the Scottish Inn would be closed down if the board decided to agree to the deal.

Comparable properties sold in the area were also presented to the board, though exact values of the property were not discussed.

During the presentation board members cited concerns that the presentation did not recognize that Valhalla Drive was owned by Lowndes County and wanted it to be known that Valhalla is owned by Lowndes County and it will remain one of their main entrances. The board also cited concerns about the use of Valhalla on Friday night during football games and that it would be nearly impossible to use that road.

Jason Wisenbaker, District 4, also made it known that the safety of the students would come first and the board would want to know what restaurants are interested in coming to the location. Carswell said that they would work with Lowndes County on these concerns if the board decided to move forward with this deal.

The board will discuss this decision further during their August 5 meeting.

Before moving into executive session, the board unanimously approved the YMCA PrimeTime contract. By passing this contract, the board has agreed to provide a location for the YMCA to hold their PrimeTime program. The PrimeTime program is a state licensed and certified  program that focuses on providing a quality after school program for the community to support working parents and their children.