Council formalizes estate purchase

Published 11:43 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Andalusia City Council Tuesday formalized in a unanimous vote the already-announced purchase of Springdale Estate, the former home of John G. Scherf currently owned by Dr. Charles and Mary Margaret Tomberlin.

The property was to be auctioned on Thurs., Aug. 19, along with other properties owned by Dr. Tomberlin, who is preparing to retire.

Mayor Earl Johnson said, “We went in and struck a deal with Dr. Tomberlin, in which we agreed to pay $700,000 for the home and four acres and $200,000 for the adjacent commercial lot, which goes all the way back and joins our Veterans Memorial Park.”

Johnson said the deal calls for the city to pay $600,000 at closing on Oct. 1, with the remaining $300,000 to be paid in equal amounts over the next five years.

Johnson called the purchase a “bold move” that was necessary because the property was zoned B-1, and one that will protect First United Methodists Church and First Baptist Church, both located on East Three Notch Street, in the long term.

Andalusia director of development Andy Wiggins explained that a B-1 zoning allows for retail uses ranging from banks to professional offices to convenience stores and service stations.

“They could have done almost anything with it,” Johnson said.

The mayor spoke at length on the reasons the decision was the right one to make for the city. For full text, click here.

And he personally thanked members of the council for their support in what has become a controversial decision.

“I personally appreciate what you did,” he said. “I’ll take full blame if there is blame to go around, and you take the credit.”

Council resolution 2010-33 cites the historical significance of the property of the structure as the home of Scherf, a former four-term mayor who came to Andalusia to work for the chamber of commerce and later started Alatex and Andala textile companies. The resolution also authorizes the mayor and city clerk to secure acquisition financing for the home and lot, not to exceed $700,000, for one year.