After Delaying Vote on Potential Sale of Samuell Farm, Park Board Opts to Take a Pass. For Now.
Courtesy Friends of the Farm
No doubt you recall the brouhaha in June over Park and Recreation's proposal to ask voters if it'd be OK to maybe, some day, sell Samuell Farm and Samuell New Hope Park, neither of which the city has dough enough to tend to. Long story short: The Texas Attorney General's Office told the city it couldn't sell the land -- by philanthropist and physician W.W. Samuell in 1937 -- without the court's approval, and even then it had to prove no other municipality was willing to take them over. To which the City Attorney's Office said it could indeed sell the land and use the proceeds elsewhere, but, sure, fine, with the court's okee-doke.
The Park and Rec Board was scheduled in mid-June to vote on taking the proposal to the public in October before a November 2 referendum. But after the legal back-and-forthing with the AG's office, the board postponed the vote till today. And vote it just did to deny the item -- meaning, board members did not authorize that public hearing and special election after all.
According to First Assistant City Attorney Chris Bowers, some board members said they want to take still more time to go over this with the city staff, which means this may come back to the board in the future. There was also talk of forming a committee to study either selling the property or finding another city to operate the properties. Or, well, you name it.
"All options are on the table," says Bowers. "Which could include the city keeping it and finding better ways to use and promote it. Every option will be explored."
Bowers tells Unfair Park that, yes, the city and AG's office "still have disagreements over what the law requires of the city and the park board" if and when it chooses to sell the properties. He says they met as recently as two weeks ago to hash out their differences, with little success.
The AG's office says it will return calls related to this matter later today. But Bowers was not asked to brief the board either in closed or open session today. Meaning: It had already made up its mind not to even think about selling Samuell Farm. At least, not now.
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