Bebe Heiskell Open To Selling County's 285 Acres At McLemore Cove

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Walker County Sole Commissioner Bebe Heiskell said she is open to selling the 285 acres the county owns in McLemore Cove.

But she said it would not be to a developer, saying the property was bought to preserve the beautiful cove where Lookout and Pigeon mountains merge.

She said she had five inquiries in the last week since the idea was broached.

Ms. Heiskell said, "If I had the right offer, I'd be glad to sell it."

She said one prospective buyer wanted to build a house there, but he wanted 800 acres to go with it.

The state owns some 16,000 adjacent acres and still holds title to the rodeo barn and the air strip.

The county has been losing money trying to operate a store, restaurant and lodging at the site. Recently, a private firm was brought in to manage it. The restaurant is in a portion of the old cove mansion.

Ms. Heiskell said the firm plans to put a manager onsite.

She said the restaurant has been doing better. "There was a line until 9 o'clock one night recently. A lot of people from LaFayette go there." 

A fall festival is planned there. She said a similar inaugural event recently in Chattooga County went well, drawing up to 12,000 people.

Over 2,400 cyclists are set to descend on the Cove for the upcoming Ironman event based in Chattanooga.

She said she would look for a buyer with similar aims as the county - to preserve the scenic property and to provide a draw for tourists and locals.

The commissioner said she does not believe the state wants the property to go out of government hands.

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