January 29, 2023
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Commission votes to sell old Walmart building

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POTENTIAL INVESTOR – Aaron Ray, an investor with NAPA Auto Parts in Jackson who has been looking into the old Walmart property for the past six weeks, spoke to Commissioners regarding his interest in buying the property.
UNDER CONSIDERATION – County Commissioners listen to investor Aaron Ray as he talks about how the old Walmart property might be used if the property were sold to his company.

By Angela Jones

At the meeting Monday night, County Commissioners were met with a resolution from County Mayor Mark Ward to put the old Walmart building property up for sale. The property was purchased by the county just last spring.

“I am in favor of all of the projects that had been considered for the old Walmart property,” said Ward. “I am in favor, but this is just not the right time to move forward with those projects.”

Ward emphasized the need for some liquidity in the county’s coffers to be ready to respond to the mounting requests for industrial development near I-40, which have arisen in the past year in part due to the planned completion of the Ford Motor Company’s “Blue Oval City” project near Stanton. 

“We want to be ready to bring new jobs and industry to the county and selling the old Walmart property will help us to do that,” Ward remarked. “In fact, we already have a potential buyer interested in the property. Aaron Ray, an investor with NAPA Auto Parts in Jackson, has been looking into the property for the past six weeks, and has reached a point where he needs to know if we are willing to sell.”

Ray spoke to the group, relating that NAPA is looking to expand to a central location, and plans to bring some additional tenants into the property with them. “If we choose to purchase the property on Hwy. 641, we would be able to populate it with tax-generating businesses with about six months, depending on the level of repairs and modifications needed to make the property habitable again,” Ray said.

With only a brief period of questioning, commissioners voted 16-0 (Rocky Presson and Frank Lashlee were absent) to approve the property to be put on the market for sale. The approved resolution states that any pending sale would require approval by the Commission. 

The Board of Commissioners for Benton County will meet in regular session on Monday, Oct. 17, at the Benton County courthouse at 6 p.m. No special guests are scheduled to speak.

Approval of the property sale was the primary resolution of concern on Monday night’s agenda. All resolutions on the agenda were approved, including:

  • Appointed Rachelle Hill to the Solid Waste Board and John Beasley to the Industrial Board.
  • Transferred $96,400 within the Jail budget from guard wages (for positions that have not been filled) to overtime pay.
  • Appropriated $80,000 from the schools unassigned fund balance to the schools’ food service budget to offset under-estimated expenses. 
  • Transferred American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the following designated recipients: City of Camden, Town of Big Sandy, Benton-Decatur Special Sewer District, North Utility District, and Harbor Utility District.

Anyone who could not attend the meeting can view it on www.facebook.com/BentonCoTN. For more information, call the mayor’s office at 731-584-6011.

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