The Columbia City Council plans to purchase 17.99 acres on Burkesville Street to develop for use as a community project.
The city is offering $202,500 for the former Foust property, located at 516 Burkesville St. and currently owned by Jonathan and Julie Brockman. The property includes an historic home and a block building. It connects to Edgewood Dr. and borders the back property line of a row of houses on Lee St.
According to information at the PVA office, Brockman purchased the property in 2017 for $157,300. He has cleared much of the land and sold timber from it since he purchased it. Prior to his purchase it was owned by the Foust family and was the home of the late Pam Foust, a well-known high school teacher, and her father, the late Ralph Hurt.
Council member Dr. Ronald Rogers made a motion to purchase the property, saying it would be used as a community project. Following the meeting, Mayor Pam Hoots said the project will not happen overnight and the public will be asked for input on how to develop the property.
Everything from a meeting room, a history museum, an amphitheater and a walking trail were mentioned during an informal discussion between several council members and local media. Hoots said she hopes to preserve the house and have it listed as a national landmark because it played a role in the Civil War. She said she believes the house can be stabilized for under $50,000 but that only includes addressing windows, floors and the roof. The city won’t know if the house could or should be preserved until costs can be determined.
Hoots said the project will be a long term investment and the city will take the time needed to determine the best use for the property. It will be in walking distance to a large number of city residents and Hoots said it can be something the community can enjoy for years to come.
All council members present voted in favor of the land acquisition. They are Dr. Rogers, June Parson, Mark Harris, Linda Waggener and Sharon Payne. Craig Dean was not present.
More details will be available in the Thursday, Dec. 12 edition of the Community Voice.