Mt. Juliet Commissioners gave city and recreation leaders permission Monday to negotiate the price for 63 acres of land that could be used for a city park.

City manager Kenny Martin and Mt. Juliet Parks Director Rocky Lee will look to negotiate the $3 million price tag for 63 acres of land made up of three tracts south of Old Lebanon Dirt Road and just north of Stoner Creek Elementary School.

Lee said the property, known as the Hollis-Hassett Property, was recently submitted to the city and could be an “all-in-one” park. He said the property had enough usable acreage to build a facility comparable to the Jimmy Floyd Family Center in Lebanon, as well as sports fields, nature trails and walking system.

Commissioners, excluding Ray Justice, who abstained from voting, and the absent Art Giles, decided to proceed with negotiations about the price of the land after Lee presented six other possible options chosen by the land committee and parks boards.

Richard and Lori Lyons pulled their property from consideration during the meeting after several months of discussion about placing a city park on the 22 acres of land, located at 1041 S. Rutland Rd. Lyons said the property was appraised for $2.6 million, but he was willing to sell to the city for $2 million.

“It’s really up to the city to make that decision, and it seems actually that the city is not leaning toward wanting to do that, so we’re going to pull the property,” Richard Lyons said. “We’re really sorry because we think in the most densely populated area of Mt. Juliet, it would’ve been a great opportunity for the city to provide the citizens down there with a wonderful park space.”

“It’s just like buying a car. We started out with this one, then a better one came and a better one. In our opinion, land with better usage started coming up,” Lee said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The group failed to approve negotiation plans for other options, such as a potential 110-acre park that would have included the Hollis-Hassett Property and the McFarland Property, an adjoining 47-acre tract for $2.3 million.

“There was a plan we found from 2010 that showed a rendering of what this plot could be, and the park committee fell in love with this,” said Lee, noting the property was the land committee and park board’s first choice.

“I wasn’t crazy about McFarland because a lot of it was in the flood area, and there’s no room for a community center, which, obviously people want,” Commissioner Jennifer Milele said.

“We want to affect the majority. We want to be a diverse park. We want everybody,” Lee said.

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