Sold to Poarch
Published 6:41 pm Saturday, May 8, 2004
By By Arthur McLean Editor
The Atmore area seems to be experiencing it's own version of a land rush. It started with the city purchasing more than 600 acres at the intersection of S.R. 21 and I-65 last year.
Now, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is the new owners of more than 2,000 acres of land in the Sardine area.
The tribe purchased the land from HMW Mississippi Timberlands LLC on March 30. The estimated purchase price, according to court records was almost $2.8 million.
The Atmore Advance has also verified that the tribe is in talks with other landowners in the Atmore area.
The land purchased in the Sardine area is roughly bordered in parts by Big Escambia Creek to the east and Sizemore Creek to the west.
The land lies very near a large portion of the property purchased by the city intended for development as a commercial/industrial park.
Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis did not return phone calls Monday or Tuesday regarding the purchase.
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said he was aware of the land purchase, but refused to comment or speculate on the tribe's intentions with the property.
Shell would only say that he has been in contact with Tullis and the two have discussed a number of matters regarding both the city's and the tribe's land holding and economic development matters.
Shell reiterated past statements of the city's intention to work together with the tribe in the area of economic development.
This development comes on the heels of a recent major push in the state legislature for legalizing some forms of electronic bingo gaming at dog tracks around the state.
Also, the tribe is in the midst of constructing a $120 million gambling and entertainment facility in Wetumpka.
The tribe is working Harrah's Casino to bring that project online within the next few years. Construction has already begun on that project.
Here in Atmore, the tribe already operates a large bingo operation with limited electronic gaming, along with Muskogee Metal Works and Creek Indian Enterprises.
The land purchase consists of several large tracts of land, including a 627-acre tract, a 649-acre tract bordered by Steward Road, and a 640-acre tract bordered by Sizemore Creek. There are a number of smaller tracts included in the purchase, including tracts of 179 acres and approximately 300 acres.