BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
Bidding for the 160-acre parcel donated by Roger W. Jones of Sperryville, VA to Truman was congenial, according to City Clerk Monte Rohman. Seven bidders were involved in early action at the auction hosted by Wingert Realty at the Truman Community Building on Friday, September 21. Two bidders ruled the action, and the final winner was Sanders Farms of Truman.
The parcel of 151 tillable acres located five miles east of Truman in Nashville township included a nine acre building site and eventually sold for $9,406 per acre, Rohman said. The total sale was just over $1.5M. It had been evaluated at $1.2M.
Rohman said the windfall opens up an opportunity for Truman to develop a new suburb on the east side of town.
"We need some new lots," Rohman said. The $400,000 infrastructure costs, including sewer, water and streets, would allow for the development of about a dozen new homes. In turn, the sale of those lots would repay most of that initial investment made possible by the Jones sale within ten years, Rohman said. He hopes the infrastructure will be in place within a year.
Other options for the Jones windfall are still on the table, Rohman said, though there has been some discussion about help ing to fund the new deck for the city pool.
"I think that remains for the Council to decide. So, at this point we just need to discuss that further," said Mayor Lynn Brownlee.
The Truman City Council agreed on Monday night to hold a work session next week to look at other projects and opportunities that may ultimately benefit directly from the Jones donation.
"We are eternally grateful for this huge gift and we all appreciate it, as does the City of Truman," Brownlee said.
According to Brownlee, Jones was a 1953 graduate of Truman High School. Brownlee said Jones approached her some time ago about making a donation to the city.
"He called me two or three years ago and was asking what kind of things, projects that Truman might have," Brownlee said. "I had no idea at the time what he was talking about. So I had mentioned that we were wanting to replace the slide down at the swimming pool, and he kind of chuckled at that. He went on to tell me what kind of donation he was considering. It was far more than what we would need for a slide."
The auction was very well managed by Wingert Realty, Brownlee and Rohman both commented. "They've been working on it for some time. That's who Roger wanted us to work with," Brownlee said.
Jones first purchased the property in the 1980s with a partner, whom he bought out in the 1990s. He made his fortune in investments and an East Coast ski resort, Brownlee said, but still returns each summer to conduct an ornithological tagging project on the American Kestrels in Martin County.
"He bands kestrels. He has all these little houses where kestrels nest, and so then he comes back every year and bands them and tracks them."
The kestrel houses are in the Truman area.
"He's made investments and he had a ski resort out east and he's just done very well in life. He's retired at this point."
Jones' father, Casey, was the long-time manager for Truman Farmers Elevator, Rohman said. His mother was Evelyn Jones.
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