Dora property leases discussed by board

By ED HOWELL
Posted 6/9/18

The Walker County Board of Education on Thursday heard requests to lease Dora property that the board owns. Brenda Dawson, representing Saint Mark AME Church in Dora, asked the board to leasing …

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Dora property leases discussed by board

Posted

The Walker County Board of Education on Thursday heard requests to lease Dora property that the board owns. 

Brenda Dawson, representing Saint Mark AME Church in Dora, asked the board to leasing land next to the church to use for the church's youth recreation activities. The vacant field, which she said was the "old Black Dora High School," is located at 122 Union Camp Rd. in Dora, not far from the Alabama Mining Museum. 

She said it apparently was leased at one time to the City of Dora, as the church used to get permission from the city for games and other activities there. The church heard recently that the city is not leasing it anymore. 

Officials agreed the church could be responsible for mowing the grass. The board agreed the church could be licensed to use the land as surplus land as long as it maintains the land, particularly through mowing. 

Board member Todd Vick was absent from the meeting. 

Also, Terry Smith of Dora requested the lease or purchase of Watkins Field, the old football field in Dora. He noted his son plays in the Dora Park and Recreation Department's football program. 

"We have a lot of parents who want to clean the field up so their kids can have their own football field instead of having to rely on Dora High's football field," he said. The team is currently practicing on baseball fields at Dora's city park, he said.

Board officials noted that purchasing was possible but it was a long process. Smith said the city would likely not purchase the property, although "if it is a lease, I can probably get an OK from the Dora City Council for that." He said the use would technically be for the Dora Park and Recreation Department to benefit the youth. 

District 4 board member Lee Ann Headrick said she would "love" to see the field used for the program.

After it became apparent Smith was representing the youth league program instead of the city, board officials encouraged him to draw up documents and get the city involved as the leasing party. 

Smith said parents came that night because city officials have said, "Why should we use this field when we have a perfectly good field at Dora High School?" However, Smith said that belongs to the high school, not the city. 

Smith said, "My thoughts on it are, why should my children, who play at Dora park and support the City of Dora, have to practice on a softball field when the kids in Sumiton have their own football field, and when this field is sitting there going to waste." 

He said the city's park director was not able to make it to the meeting. 

Officials agreed to continue to work on the proposal and bring it up again at the board's next meeting on Wednesday.