The 110 acres of family farmland in New Hope, Tennessee, eyed by a high-end recreational vehicle resort park developer earlier this year for a $30 million, 250-space facility is back on the market — indicating the deal is off and the property's future is back in uncertain territory.
Amy Turner Burns, one of the owners of the property, wouldn't talk about details of the situation when contacted Friday, but she confirmed the property's status.
"There is a sign on the property showing it is listed for sale by Parks Realty," Burns said in a brief email. "No further comment."
The property on state Highway 156 adjacent to the Shelby T. Rhinehart Bridge between New Hope and South Pittsburg is now listed online on several real estate sites with a price tag of $2.64 million.
Aaron Hillman, an Arizona-based Red Moon Development architect, did not respond to queries last week seeking comment on future plans and why the company didn't buy the property. Hillman presented an informal early plan to New Hope's elected leaders and a standing-room-only crowd of residents in late April, seeking to temper opponents' reaction to the idea.
People in the New Hope community heard about the speculative RV park almost immediately after Red Moon began looking at the property. Rumors swirled and sparked a petition in opposition, tallying almost 200 signatures from New Hope residents after it was launched in March and presented to elected officials in April.
At the April meeting, Hillman said the project could only move forward through a number of steps and assured residents it was then "truly just an idea."
"We have not submitted anything to the city or county or anybody," Hillman said.
The informal proposal called for a 250-space layout on the front portion of the property nearest the river. The resort, Hillman said in April, targeted luxury RV owners who invest up to $1 million or more in their high-end RVs.
The informally proposed resort featured different sizes and types of RV spaces and would include amenities such as dog parks, pools and pickleball among recreational activities, and certain areas of the clubhouse featured multiple hot tubs.
New Hope Mayor Mark Myers didn't immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment on the matter.
At the April meeting, the family who owns the property was represented by sisters Amy Burns and Betty Turner and their brother, Paul Turner. They make up three of the five siblings who own the property jointly.
In April, Amy Burns told New Hope residents she and her four siblings found themselves in a position where they had to sell the land their father, Paul Turner, bought in 1970 because no one sibling could afford to buy out the others' interest in the property. Turner said their father only wanted the best for New Hope, South Pittsburg and Marion County, and she and her siblings didn't want to harm New Hope.
Burns said the property had been on the market for two years and had generated interest from a variety of developers, including Red Moon.
Most New Hope residents at the April meeting voiced opposition to the idea, though there were a few quiet supporters. Opponents worried about the effect of the development on local utilities and emergency services. They discounted New Hope's attractiveness to travelers because the town has no sights to see or events to attend.
One resident and RV enthusiast told people at the meeting he traveled with his wife all over the country, staying at comparable parks he described as "really high-end" that cater to million-dollar RV owners and not simple campgrounds.
A persistent vocal opponent to the park idea, New Hope resident Rhonda Lawson, said Friday that city officials have said the deal was off and, while she understands the owners' need to sell the land, she and many New Hope residents don't want an RV park there.
"The people of New Hope just wouldn't have seen any real benefit from an RV park while seeing a significant increase in traffic and non-tax-paying residents," Lawson said Friday in an emailed comment. "Our city was incorporated in the '70s to prevent the encroachment by other cities. There is no question that other cities within the county would profit from an RV park so one of those cities should allow the RV park there, and I have heard that nearby Jackson County, Alabama, is open to the build of such a project."