|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||September 16, 2003|
|Contact:||Greg Kidd, National Parks Conservation Association, 865-329-2424, extension 26|
New Appraisal Says Ravensford is Worth $3.5 Million
“This new appraisal brings to light additional questions about this land-transfer deal and gives greater reason for Congress, the National Park Service, and the local community to proceed with caution,” said National Parks Conservation Association Associate Regional Director Greg Kidd. “This issue should be addressed before either Congress or the Park Service resolve to remove the Ravensford tract from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fortunately, alternative locations for the construction of schools do exist outside the boundary of the park.”
In a 41-page professional appraisal dated August 13, 2003, the Property Service Group Southeast looked at 16 comparable properties, concluding that the 143-acre Ravensford tract has a market value of $3,575,000. In an October 2002 letter to the editor of The Washington Post, the EBCI reported that 168 acres of the Ravensford tract appraised at $558,400. The National Park Service has denied repeated Freedom of Information Act requests for that appraisal to confirm that figure.
To expedite the land-transfer process, Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) has proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1409) that would circumvent the ongoing public process by mandating the exchange of the Ravensford tract. The House is expected to take action on the bill as early as this week.
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