No joke: Hamilton County details plans for Old McDonald Farm
Infrastructure will come first, but it will be three years before any true development on the property
The residents of Sale Creek have heard all the jokes about McDonald Farm… But when Hamilton County bought the old property, it became a dose of reality that some residents are facing that may not end with a fun outcome.
Thursday at Sale Creek High School, there was supposed to be a boys basketball game. But it ended up being a makeup game that left the gym open, so Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger swooped in just to talk to the residents about what was going to happen at the newly purchased McDonald Farm.
Hamilton County closed the deal on the farm somewhere short of 60 days ago, purchasing the property for 16 million dollars. For many of the farm’s neighbors, the issues of where sewage drain pipes will go and the possibility that they might get priced out of the area due to the economic growth has them digging their heels in.
Jennifer Duvall, a resident of Sale Creek who lives near McDonald Farm said, “We value the property we have. We value that way of life that we’ve known, which is something – again, we moved from Florida in that way and we found it here. Some of us just don’t have a price tag.”
There are also those who see some value in keeping the original farm buildings intact. It could help the agricultural life many residents there know and understand, and pass that along to the next generation.
“Give us some of the original facility. It’s been there since the 1800’s. It was one of the first farms in this area that was actually named. Family-owned, family-operated. You got to keep that. You’ve GOT to keep that,” said Adam Presley, the leader of Hamilton County’s 4H Main Attraction
Mayor Coppinger says it will be at least three years before much of the property is developed for business or anything else. So, he has one thought in mind…
“Let the community enjoy it. Let kids come here and learn about agriculture. Learn about the different things that happens on farms, and everything from fishing to riding horses and things of that nature. So, there’s a lot to look forward to before it’s ever going to be developed because there’s a lot of infrastructure that would have to occur prior to development.”
Some of the 2,100 acres at McDonald Farm are supposed to be used for recreational purposes, but there haven’t been any decisions by Hamilton County as to how much will be used in that way.