York to use lakefront property sale to pay for utility upgrades

YORK -- City property on Lake Wylie is slated to be sold after the York City Council approved the measure this week.

The council voted unanimously on an ordinance allowing the city to sell 41 acres off Liberty Hill Road on the shore of Lake Wylie.

"It's lucrative property," said York Mayor Eddie Lee. "We've received inquiries, but we haven't sold it yet."

The ordinance passed Tuesday paves the way for city leaders to broker a deal with a buyer. Lee said several developers have already shown interest.

"It is in an area booming with development," he said. "Our property is right in the middle of it."

The decision to sell ends a seven-year saga.

In 2000, York purchased the land at Lake Wylie for $290,000 and planned to use it for a future water treatment plant. Since then, a new mayor and four new council members took office, and the $15 million to $22 million project fell off the table because of costs and other setbacks. York continues to use its water plant at Lake Caldwell and buys additional water from Rock Hill.

In August, the council voted to allow developers to access the land. The council discussed using the money from a potential sale for several things, including an expensive lawsuit with businessman John Mercer over the construction of a metal building downtown and to replenish cash reserves.

A July 28 city memo from former City Manager Trey Eubanks and the Public Works Committee stated that selling the property may be a good way to finance future expansion at the city's wastewater treatment plant.

That's exactly what will happen, Lee said.

The land will fetch a price close to $1 million, Lee estimated. That money will be deposited into the utility fund and budgeted for upgrades to the water treatment plant.

"I think everybody agrees it should pay for utility upgrades," Lee said.

Lee said he expects to broker a deal by the end of the summer.