Selma is making plans to build more shopping, a new park, new auto dealership and a hotel west of Highway 99 on land that includes a portion of surplus property the county has been trying to unload.
The city already has gained approval for a 36-acre Toyota dealership and is working on a park plan west of Highway 99, between Floral and Huntsman avenues. The auto dealership and future development eventually will extend the Floral Avenue commercial area west to DeWolf Avenue.
The project also will include a hotel and 361,000 square feet of retail space, including two anchor stores. The phased-in development, called Selma Grove, eventually will cover about 94 acres. So far, just the 36-acre portion is in the city limits, and work on the Toyota dealership is under way.
On a separate piece of nearby property, north of Rockwell Pond, the city is proposing a 6-acre park with trails, baseball and soccer fields, land that is now owned by the county.
County officials say they are negotiating with the city. There are some strings attached to the land because it was bought with tobacco settlement money, which requires the land to be used for a public purpose.
Everyone is a little nebulous on how this will work out, but we can all sit down and try to work it out.
Ken Grey, Selma city manager
Selma City Manager Ken Grey said the city wants to buy 6 acres out of the county’s 90-acre parcel north of Huntsman between DeWolf and Highway 99. But the going rate for the land now is about half what the county paid for the 90 acres in 2007, which was $4.6 million.
What also is unknown is whether the city can even buy the land from the county for a park, because the county used tobacco settlement funds to buy it.
“Everyone is a little nebulous on how this will work out, but we can all sit down and try to work it out,” Grey said.
County supervisors say they are willing to sell more of the county’s land to Selma, but Grey said that 6 acres is all the city can legitimately use for the park.
Last year, the Board of Supervisors put the 90 acres up for sale but for no less than the $4.6 million that the county paid for the land in 2007. There were no takers.
Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes, whose district covers Selma, thinks the city’s move into that area is a positive development.
“It’s a natural fit if you’re going to do something for a public use,” he said.
Mendes, who joined the board in 2015, said he still is not sure why the county bought the land in 2007.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of real estate deals over the years, and that’s the most bizarre one I have seen.”