SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — City leaders have flip-flopped on pricing structures for various rental sites in town since March, but now the South Pittsburg City Commission has finalized those lease agreements.
At the board's August meeting, Mayor Virgil Holder announced specifics for renting city-owned properties including the Princess Theatre, the old National Guard Armory building, and the Chapel on the Hill.
Renting the historic Princess Theatre will require a $500 security deposit with a $300 per day rental fee for for-profit organizations and $150 per day for nonprofit groups.
The Chapel on the Hill and the former National Guard Armory building each will require a $200 security deposit with a $250 per day rental fee for for-profit organizations and $150 per day for nonprofits.
A $125 nonrefundable cleaning fee will be required for each site, too.
"The city reserves the right to forgive the nonprofit rental, but it must be a 30-day notice of request before we can do that," Holder said.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the lease agreements.
The declaration that the Chapel on the Hill would be included in those pricing structures was news to South Pittsburg Historic Preservation Society member Carolyn Millhiser.
She said the organization has "struggled" to raise $30,000 to restore the building, which has an active contract for a September wedding.
"This is the first I've heard that [the city] is taking control of the building," Millhiser said. "We quoted a price [for rental] that's different from what you're doing."
Holder said South Pittsburg owns the chapel.
"The city pays the insurance," he said. "The city pays the upkeep, and the city will pay all the utilities and all on it. The city has all the liabilities on it."
Holder said the city would honor the existing quote for the rental fee as long as the wedding party comes to city hall to sign the paperwork.
Millhiser asked Holder if historic society members should turn in their keys to the building and fire the employee who routinely mows the grass.
"Yes," Holder told her. "I'm not going to sit here and discuss every little detail with you on that."
"I'm just flabbergasted, sir, that nobody had the courtesy to notify that you all were planning to take over," Millhiser replied.
Holder said the issue was discussed by the board in an open workshop, which Millhiser didn't attend.
"We fully advertised it, and we made it available," he said.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at email@example.com.