Opp sells properties to Sonoco, Crossover

Published 1:20 am Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Opp City Council on Monday approved the transfer of two properties to two different entities.

First, the city OK’d selling the old Van Heuson property to Sonoco for $1.

“Sonoco approached us (the city of Opp) six months ago,” City Planner Jason Bryan said.

Bryan said that several other Sonoco plants were closing and that the Opp branch had an opportunity to pick up another product line.

The company has leased the property for three years at $2,000 a month.

Bryan said that purchasing the property could potentially give Sonoco the advantage to take on another line and could add five to 10 jobs in Opp.

“While the other plants are closing, they are expanding,” he said.

During the public hearing, Bill Edwards asked if it would be more beneficial to the city of Opp to continue getting the $2,000 a month in lease payments or selling it.

Bryan said it would benefit the city in jobs.

“We don’t pay property taxes,” he said. “They will pay property taxes of around $3,000.”

Councilmember Gary Strickland said that Sonoco also has about a $1,000 a month in utilities.

“We will lose that if they pull out,” he said. “There is a lot of repair work that needs to be done on that building.”

Sonoco employs approximately 50 people in Opp.

“If we keep it it’s just a burden on the city,” Strickland said.

Councilmember Skipper Spurlin said that it’s difficult to bring in new business.

“You have to retain what you have,” he said. “Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. They really feel like they are going to expand.”

Strickland said the city didn’t purchase the building.

“We have made money on it,” he said. “To keep it, we will have to spend every dollar we have made on it.”

Edwards said he was concerned about his grandchildren’s future.

The council voted unanimously to sell the property.

Additionally, they sold a parcel of land near Custom Collars to Crossover Ministry. Crossover Ministry will pay $1 for the property.

However, there is a clause in the agreement that allows for the property to revert back to the city if for some reason Crossover does not wish to continue utilizing the space within 20 years.

Additionally, if Crossover decides they should sell the property within five to 20 years, they should pay the city of Opp $33,000.

Crossover board member Greg White and Director Todd Sasser were on hand and spoke at the public hearing.

The goal is to create a farmer’s market, they said.

“We do have big plans,” Sasser said. “We’ve been asking God in what direction.”

Sasser said they plan to build two or three hoop houses, which will allow for a year-round growing season.

Sasser said they want to be very visible and become a place that people stop on their way to the beach.

“We will have a lighted trail,” he said. “And we will have stuff about Opp, too.”

White said they plan to have a couple of mornings designated to inviting the general public to sell their wares.

“We are very excited,” Sasser said.