UCHRA is hoping to close on the sale of Lakeside Resort in DeKalb County to the Brentwood Arts Society in February.
"We are hoping to sell the Lakeside facility to the Brentwood Arts Society, said UCHRA Executive Director Luke Collins, who addressed the county commission Monday night.
Last April, UCHRA settled on a deal to sell the property to the Brentwood entity controlled by Jim Himelrick and Bob Pierce, real estate developers and former investors in Nashville Shores.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, last fall approved allowing the non-profit Brentwood Arts Society to assume the land lease. Rural Development had to approve a loan to Brentwood Arts before the transaction could be finalized.
Himelrick and Pierce had reached a deal in April to acquire the property from UCHRA by the first of the year but also operate it for a fee of $5,000 a month until then. Under the existing lease and loan terms, a non-profit has to be in control of the property.
Collins said the Brentwood Arts Society will bring more activities to the county through Lakeside Resort. "I think that change will be a win, win for everybody. I think the Brentwood Arts Society will bring more activities to Smithville and DeKalb County and more opportunities because that's more of what they do. They are specialized in doing those things and I think they would be a better suited organization to manage Lakeside. We (UCHRA) are primarily into social services. That's primarily what we do. But Lakeside is a great facility. It offers a lot of educational opportunities for DeKalb County and a lot of jobs. It's brought a lot of tourists here. We want it to continue to be an asset to DeKalb County and I think it will," said Collins
"It would still be run as an educational facility," said County Mayor Mike Foster. "It would still be open to the public and it would probably help create a resort area for DeKalb County and the Upper Cumberland area in that it would still be run as a motel, a destination, a training center, and would still provide a lot of the same services that it has in the past. But it would be run by a private organization," he added.
Brentwood Arts Society provides financial support to the Town Centre Theater in Brentwood, which also has a production group that recently put on play performances at the new DeKalb County Complex auditorium.
"February 6 is the date that we hope it will close (on the sale of Lakeside) but it may be a little later into February," said Collins." We feel very positive about it. The buyers keep saying they will be able to assume the loan and take it over. I think it will be positive for everybody," he said.
Lakeside Resort, consisting of 139 acres on the banks of Center Hill Lake off of the Cookeville Highway, created problems for UCHRA financially, by being unable to support itself or to service the debt on the $1.6 million note owed on property there.