originally published 1/21/2009
The separate recent purchases of 67 acres on Burnt Mountain and an office building next to the County Admin Building add to an existing inventory of property owned by Pickens county.
County holdings can be found through the Tax Assessor’s maps, but not all of that information is current. Chief Appraiser Roy Dobbs explained in a recent interview that a county doesn’t pay taxes on property it owns, so there isn’t much incentive to keep market values and other particulars up-to-date on its own parcels.
Also, Dobbs noted that some parcels owned by Pickens, such as the Courthouse on Main Street, have been owned by the county for so long that original purchase dates and prices are no longer easily accessible.
Dobbs noted that with many county-owned parcels where early information is listed as not available, the information isn’t really lost, it just isn’t included in digital files available in his office. He said greater details for some parcels can be found using title searches, but that becomes a fairly lengthy process.
Properties owned by Pickens County:
• Yellow Creek Fire Station 1075 Yellow Creek Road, was deeded to the county on January 31, 2002. Includes 1.68 acres and metal fire station. Currently valued at $111,992. Purchase price was recorded as $30,000, however Dobbs noted that on several pieces the county not pay cash for property and the value is based on donated amounts from the owners for tax purposes.
• Bethany-Salem Fire Station – 5382 Waleska Highway (Hwy. 108) includes .31 acres, valued at $23,612, No purchase information was available.
• Grandview Fire Station, #1, corner of Burnt Mountain and Grandview Road, has small building and .16 acres. Acquired November 18, 1986. Donation or no-cash deal.
• Grandview Fire Station #2, 3764 Cove Road, 1.50 acres and fire station acquired as donation on June 30, 2003 from Pendley family.
• Ludville Community Center – 31 Wildwood Road, deeded to county January 29, 2004. Includes building that originally started as a lodge and .28 acres. Purchase price was listed as $22,000. Currently valued at $85,284.
• Lee Newton Park – 400 Stegall Drive, includes 12.02 acres, includes Chamber of Commerce Building deeded to Development Authority. Dobbs said there was no purchase information available. He said he could remember when the Allen Family owned it and charged for people to fish in a pond there. Later, former Jasper Mayor Lee Newton kept cows there in a pasture. The current value is $397,075, but that also includes the adjoining 1.2 acres where the Senior Center sits.
• Senior Citizen Center – 400 Stegall Drive. 1.2 acres. Cut out from Lee Newton Park in the mid 1990s. The building was built in 1995.
• Roper Park – 1908 Refuge Road. The property was originally an airport. The parcel was deeded to Pickens Parks and Recreation department in 1977. The original 24.755 acres in the airport/park came from the Roper Family. “They have received some compensation, but it was mostly a donation,” Dobbs said. The original purchase/transfer information was not available.
On December 20, 2002 the county acquired 8.04 acres in the rear of the park, that now serves as parking. The purchase price was listed as $200,000 and it is now appraised at $201,000.
On January 11, 2005, the county added another 5.5 acres also in the rear for a purchase price of $160,000, which now is appraised at $165,000.
• Pickens County Library – 518 Burnt Mountain Road, includes 3.12 acres and county’s library. The property was purchased on May 15, 1991 for $6,100. It is currently appraised at $11, 580,051.
• H.D. Lee Building - 158 Holly Street, this large industrial building was acquired by the county through the Development Authority in the 1960s. It has been leased to businesses. It is appraised at $2,492,732.
• Convict Camp – 3043 Camp Road, 17 acres includes recycling center and old convict camp now used by Pickens Public Works Department. Dobbs said he has been doing researching on the deed work for this property, probably in the 1950s or earlier, but the records are “very incomplete.” No purchase price or date was known by Dobbs. It is currently valued at $1,097,580.
• State Patrol Post – 3100 Camp Road. 2.34 acres were cut off from the Convict Camp piece across the street. The building was built and added to county inventory on November 1, 2004. It is valued at $2,362,156.
• Pickens County Jail – 2985 Camp Road, the jail building, completed in 2005 sits on 6.1 acres also cut off from original Convict Camp. Valued at $6,286,268.
• Pickens County Airport – 193 Airport Road, 140.59 acres includes terminal, runway and one mobile home. The DOT work barn on Upper Salem Church Road, also sits on this property. It is valued at $10,017,584. The property was acquired in 1973, the sales price was no longer available, but Dobbs said based on some research it may have been for $1,000 per acre from the Edge and Pittman estates. It is now valued at $10,017,584.
• Airport Tech Park – originally 63 acres on Upper Salem Church Road was purchased from Jim Stewart by the Development Authority for $2,183,680 on August 27, 2004.
This property was divided by a winding road and is described as a piece “inside the horseshoe” and a piece “outside the horseshoe.” The county then sold 46 acres outside the horseshoe to Lee Mullins Family interest for $5 million on November 20, 2007, but this deal involved other considerations for work performed by Mullins who was the contractor for work on the tech park since the original purchase. The county still owns 17 acres inside the horseshoe.
• EMS Station – 3563 Camp Road, 1.87 acres. No information on its acquisition. The building pre-dates Highway 515. It is appraised at $173,368.
• County Admin Building - 1266 East Church Street, 5.76 acres. This was bought on March 16, 2006. The sales price is listed as $1,275,000 but in reality this includes the exchange of two buildings owned by the county, the Sidebar restaurant and Federal Building with former owners Elite Development. It is currently appraised at $1,189,810.
• Recently owned - Sidebar Building - 50 Depot Street, was bought by county on May 14, 2006 in a foreclosure deal for $450,000. It was traded as part of the Admin Building swap with no recorded sales price for each individual building recorded. The county did give some money in addition to the two building. This building now houses the Sharp Mountain Grill.
• Recently owned - Federal Building – 35 West Church Street, was bought from federal government on December 21, 1999 for $448,000. It was traded to Elite Development in that same March 16th deal involving Sidebar building.
• New Judicial Building – 1258 E. Church Street, this building along with 2.17 acres was bought for $575,000 on November 21, 2008. It is appraised at $723,310.
Several non-profit agencies are housed in buildings that they built on property owned by the county. This property remained after the county’s Hospital Authority sold the original Pickens Hospital, but retained adjoining acreage. All these lots were separated during the Bill Newton Administration. There remains some property, but Dobbs said a more current survey would be needed to determine how much is left.
• Good Samaritan Clinic, 175 Samaritan Drive, 2.79 acres;
• The Thrift Store, 110 Samaritan Drive, 2.53 acres;
• Cares, Food Pantry, 89 Cares Drive, 1.48 acres;
• Habitat for Humanity 135 Cares Drive, .88 acres;
• Aces, children’s shelter 133 Cares Drive, 2.06
•Emergency Family Shelter, 3.383 acres.
• Pickens County Health Department - county records show 11 acres, but Dobbs said that is outdated with the above non-profit splits taking some of that property. The Health Department located here in the 1960s, Dobbs said. This property was originally tied to a larger piece the county owned which contained the spot now used by the non-profits and original hospital, which is now the County Admin Building.
• Historic Old Jail, 140 N. Main Street, .35 acres appraised at $273,835. On National Historic Register. No information about acquisition of property.
• Courthouse - 50 N. Main Street, 1 acre of property, no original information. Possibly designated as courthouse site from earliest days of Jasper history. Appraised at $1,011,016.
• Courthouse Annex - 52 North Main Street, built in 1988, property acquired from City of Jasper under Bill Quinton Administration. Terms not recorded in tax office .2 acres of property. Slated for destruction under courthouse renovation plans.
• Burnt Mountain Preserve – although all part of one deal, the property was closed on by the county in three different tracts using grants to pay for it. All parcels are now in conservation status. Tract 1, 205.69 acres on Burnt Mountain Road near first look-off, deeded to county October 24, 2000 for $390,800.
Tract 2, 375.94 acres, county paid $1,221,900 on June 14, 2002. Tract 3, 187 acres, county paid $397,825 on December 7, 2000.
• Latest addition to Burnt Mountain Preserve, the county will add another 67.73 acres to the Preserve this spring for a cost of $610,200.
• Jones Mountain Road landfill, Jones Mountain Road, garbage transfer station. the county owns a 53.63 acre parcel which contains the now-closed landfill and a transfer dumping station. The county has no information on acquisition.
On March 24, 2006, the county transferred an adjoining 74.76 acres on Jones Mountain, to the Pickens County Sportsman Club through a quit claim deed. No cash was involved.
The county also has a recycling/ garbage station on Cove Road, but it is on property leased to the county.
• Water system -- There are several sites throughout the county where the county owns small pump stations, well sites and tanks.