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Lula deal to buy train depot in danger
Officials say theres no clear title to the property

Lula city officials made public for the first time Monday the offer they are making to buy the Train Depot from the Lula Area Betterment Association.

The terms, which previously have been kept under wraps through closed-door executive sessions by Lula City Council, call on the city to pay a total of $25,000 for the property.

However, city officials would pay just $2,500 up-front because LABA does not have clear title to the Train Depot.

Frustrated by the inability of LABA officials to come up with a clear title, city council agreed at its meeting Monday night to give the organization two weeks to get its paperwork in order. If not, council declared it is ready to walk away from the deal.

“I’m getting tired of the whole thing,” veteran Councilman Mordecai Wilson said of the negotiations. “It’s a waste of time on something that’s so uncertain, that we cannot buy legally.”

Councilman Vince Evans agreed with Wilson and said it’s time to give LABA a deadline to produce the title.

For his part, Councilman Garnett Smith said lawyers for both sides should get two weeks to finalize the deal, and if they can’t, the city should “walk away.”

Mayor Milton Turner explained why council decided to make everything public.

“You’ve heard all kinds of comments out there: ‘Lula is not going to do this, that and the other,’” Turner said. “Now, it’s out in the public why there’s not been an acquisition of the depot property.”

City Manager Dennis Bergin said officials have tried diligently to overcome the issue of the ownership.

“Nobody is guilty on this one,” Bergin said. “It’s just unfortunate there’s not a clear title. We do think that there’s a means and a method to resolve that utilizing the legal system to declare the ownership of it. The city’s committed to working with LABA in the amount that they’ve asked for once we can satisfy the ownership issue.”