After more than a year of consideration, the city has decided to purchase a 16.088-acre tract of land adjacent to Pecan Grove Park.
The Sherman City Council unanimously voted to accept a general warranty deed for the purchase of the land for $663,276. The land was previously part of an over 100-acre tract of land being evaluated for possible joint use by the city and the Sherman Independent School District. When the city gifted the purchase option of 98 acres of the land to the school district in March, it retained the option for the 16 acres of frontage property.
In order to consider the land for that long, the city exercised four option periods, which cost a total of $205,000. That amount will be applied to the purchase price of $663,276 for the just over 16 acres of land.
“This is the last council action needed to kind of finalize and memorialize the transaction for the purchase of 16 acres there on the corner of 1417 and OB Groner Road, soon to be Travis Street West,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.
In documents prepared for the council, city staff said part of the 16.088 acres would be used for the planned extension of Travis Street onto the west side of U.S. Highway 75. That extension will go through the Sherman Crossroads development and will ultimately be a four-lane divided roadway that will connect with OB Groner Road at its intersection with FM 1417.
After receiving the purchase option for the 98 acres in March, Sherman ISD paid $2.65 million for it with plans to build a new high school campus there. The planned school, which was estimated to cost $133 million, was to include around 360,000 square feet and boast a 2,100-student capacity. Features of the campus were to include modern classrooms and laboratories, fine arts spaces and athletic fields and facilities, as well as a large storm shelter that would be capable of shielding all students and staff from tornadoes with 250 mph winds.
However, Sherman voters turned down a $308 million bond earlier this month that had been proposed by the school district to pay for a new high school, an updated or new football stadium, two new elementary schools and new technology infrastructure to encompass all campuses.
During a joint meeting of the council and the Sherman ISD board of trustees in March, Hefton said the 16 acres being purchased by the city could be used to expand the city’s parks and recreation space or it could be sold for future private or commercial development. On Tuesday, city staff said Sherman’s plans for the land, beyond the portion to be used for West Travis Street, were “undetermined.”
“It could be resold for commercial development, provide land for recreational uses, or some combination,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said via text message.
Hefton said in March that the city began considering the land with Sherman ISD because of the benefit good schools have on the local economy. He also said the two entities were likely to have joint uses of the school’s future facilities, particularly the athletic fields and performing arts spaces.
“School districts, I guarantee you, are the greatest economic driver that we can have as a city,” Hefton said in March. “I’m glad that we are having this conversation. I’m glad that we could be connected over the last 12 to 18 months — just having these types of meetings and discussing the needs that jointly are good not just for the city, not just for the school district, but really for the entire community.”