Somervell County Commissioners decided Monday to trade a parcel of county-owned land for property that contains recently discovered dinosaur tracks.
An appraisal by the county's Central Appraisal District showed that the county's 5.0266-acre parcel was valued at $45,000. The two lots containing the dinosaur tracks were valued at $58,415. Larry Smith Sr. owns the lots, which amount to 4.193 acres.
The county must advertise its intention for three weeks before the final approval, County Judge Mike Ford said.
He said the county wanted to make sure it was not receiving less for its property and wanted to be assured that a 501c3 non-profit organization was in place to lease the property to.
Rather than spend $4,000 to get an outside appraisal, Ford said it made more sense to him to use the CAD's valuation.
"The CAD's charge to the state is that all properties be valued as close to 100 percent as possible," Ford noted.
County Attorney Ron Hankins said the important thing to him was that the CAD uses the certified appraiser that the county was talking about possibly going to for the dinosaur track site valuations anyway. He said he was comfortable with the CAD's value and that the county had met the statute that it provide an even trade of taxpayer's money.
Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of proceeding with the trade. Commissioner Lloyd Wirt was not present.
Weeks ago Jerry Jacene, foreman of the track site, had appeared before the commissioners to propose the trade. The parcel containing the dinosaur tracks is located behind the Comfort Inn & Suites.
Jacene told commissioners that the county should preserve the track site and then could lease it back to the non-profit organization being put together to develop a visitor center and museum.
A donor has provided funds and the non-profit does have "operational dollars," Ford said.
A team of paleontologists from the University of Indiana at Purdue is scheduled to come to Glen Rose in July and plans to stay for 20 days.
"It's going to generate a whole lot of hotel-motel revenues" for the city, said Billy Huckaby, director of the city's Convention & Visitors Bureau. He said the site, once developed, could become another tourist attraction for Glen Rose.