Chief doubts tribe will change its position

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Nansemond Indian Chief Barry Bass hasn’t yet seen the document.

But he is doubtful that Nansemond Indian Tribal Association members will be receptive to the city’s newly adopted resolution that gives the organization 30 days to decide whether it will accept the city’s latest offer to lease 8-10 acres of land at Lone Star Park for Mattanock Town.


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The resolution, adopted 6-1 in Wednesday’s City Council meeting, called the opportunity the city’s &uot;best and final offer&uot; to construct the tribe’s proposed authentic replica of an Indian village, tribal museum and burial grounds.

The proposal calls for the tribe to lease 8-10 acres of land along Cedar Creek from the city. After a specific time, the property would be sold to be tribe for a nominal price so long as Mattanock Town had met specific performance guidelines.

Under the city’s proposal, the tribe and the city would share joint infrastructure costs, such as roads and water and sewer lines.

The property would remain open to the public and accommodate the city’s future plan to build a marina on the Nansemond River.

The tribe refused that offer in late April and provided the city with a list of objections to the proposal, Bass said. &uot;I felt we had tried to touch on all the concerns,&uot; he said.

He also said he would be getting NITA members together next week to further discuss the resolution.

The resolution also indicates the council-appointed task force charged with working on the Mattanock Town project would be formally disbanded if the tribe rejects or doesn’t respond within 30 days.

The tribe has been adamant in its desire that the city deed approximately 100 acres to NITA. Only about 48 acres of that property is usable, Bass said.

The tribe has maintained that it needs to own the property in order to qualify for many of the grants they are seeking to build the village and museum. But City Manager Steve Herbert said his staff hasn’t found evidence of that in its own research.

On Thursday, Bass refused to discuss the resolution, saying he wasn’t familiar with its contents. He said Mayor E. Dana Dickens had told him Tuesday that the Mattanock Town project would be discussed in the council’s executive session, but that Dickens never mentioned any action would be considered.

&uot;It’s hard to comment on something you have never seen,&uot; said Bass, who asked the city to mail a copy to him Thursday.