Land Purchase denied; town upset

A lot on South Main Street in Catawba was used for civil war re-enactments, Boy Scout displays, town festivals and green-space preservation.
Those uses will stop, however, because the property was sold Tuesday to a private buyer after Catawba Town Council’s controversial decision Monday not to purchase the property.
“People’s ideas of what’s best for the town are different,” said Catawba Mayor Vance Readling at the council’s Monday meeting. “Opinions vary … Some of them felt if you had a purpose for (the land), it would be better for it.”
The lot’s owner placed the property for sale, giving Council the opportunity to buy the land for $180,000 with zero percent interest for four years.
Council members voted against the property purchase by a vote of 3-2 at the town’s July 12 meeting.
“(The purchase) has already been voted on, and for the decision to change, people’s opinions have to change,” Readling told residents attending Monday night’s meeting.
Citizens concerned by the council’s decision against purchasing the property addressed council members during a public hearing Monday night. Several citizens spoke in favor of the town purchasing the property, citing the lot’s importance in town heritage, community involvement and camaraderie. No one spoke in favor of allowing another buyer to purchase the property.
“The residents of Catawba vote you guys into office to represent our best interests,” said Catawba resident Ryan Kormanik. “The vote should be based on the best interest of the town.”
Rumors circulated throughout Catawba that the property, once purchased, will be used for a convenience store and gas station.
The property’s use remains unknown.