The Southern Pines Land and Housing Trust accepted the Moore County Board of Education’s offer to purchase the historical section of the former Southern Pines Primary School on five acres. The land and housing trust will now perform due diligence to purchase the property. Dr. Bob Grimesey, the superintendent of Moore County Schools, said in a phone call with Sandhills Sentinel that the board received their acceptance letter on Friday, Aug. 13.
The historical section, parcel 1A, includes five acres, the old school, auditorium, the building intended for an African American museum, parking, and offsets for proper zoning.
According to the Southern Pines Land and Housing Trust’s website, the deed states the school included “four acres, more, or less.”
In a phone call with Sandhills Sentinel, Southern Pines Land and Housing Trust Chair Vincent Gordon said he was disappointed that the Moore County School Board had not accepted a previous offer from the trust to purchase the full 17 acres at the appraised price of $685,000.
According to Gordon, the West Southern Pines community paid $6,000 for the school building in 1921.
“Feels like we loaned a car, and now someone wants us to pay them for using it,” Gordon said. “My thing is, the African Americans in West Southern Pines paid for it, and the school board will not acknowledge we paid. We’re now paying $350,000, and it was appraised for only $150,000,” Gordon said about parcel 1A.
“We received a letter from the Town of Southern Pines, on the same day, with a purchase to offer some of the acreage in the same parcel,” Grimesey said.
The Town of Southern Pines offered to purchase Blanchie Carter Park. The park consists of four acres and is behind the primary school. The town’s letter states that the town plans to use the park as part of the Southern Pines Neighborhood Development Plan if purchased.
The Town of Southern Pines offers to purchase Blanchie Carter Park August 13, 2021, in a letter to the Moore County School Board.
Gordon said he has hope there is a supporter out there to help them purchase the full 17 acres in an open-bid process.
“If we don’t get the full seventeen, we won’t be able to have the adult daycare, the two restaurants, retail shops, or outdoor learning center,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he was encouraging West Southern Pines citizens. He said they will do their best to make the five acres a proud piece for everyone.
“I was disappointed. Wish it could have been a better outcome. But we will work to make it the best African American museum possible,” Southern Pines Land and Housing Trust board member Tangella Upchurch said.
Gordon said the quest to purchase the historic property brought the community together. People have donated time, legal expertise, communications, graphics, and hard work to help purchase the property.
Feature photo: The Southern Pines Land and Housing Trust accepts an offer in an August 13, 2021, letter to the Moore County School Board to purchase Southern Pines Primary School parcel 1A.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers.