The town wants to build the complex on 30 acres off N.C. 711, about a mile east of town. The 30-acre site includes 12 acres of land already owned by the tribe, and town officials are hoping the Lumbees will trade that 12 acres for eight acres owned by the town that are adjacent to the complex site.
Grady Hunt, the town's attorney, said town officials have a "safety concern" because without the swap, a proposed bike trail would be located too close to N.C. 711.
The Lumbee Tribal Council, saying it wanted to look into the request, tabled any action until June 3.
Ruth Dial Woods, the tribe's former administrator, urged the tribe not to swap the land.
"They are trying to make the tribe think this is more valuable land," Woods said. "The tribe does not need commercial land or any land between a park and shopping strips to build houses."
The tribe purchased the 12-acre tract with money it received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and planned to build housing units for its enrolled members.
"If the town is in a rut, let the town get out of it the best they can," Woods said. "You better be careful, instead of quickly coming back June 3 and say 'yes we'll swap, without HUD's approval.' "
The sports complex, which is set to be completed in 2005, will include two Little League baseball fields, a soccer field, three basketball courts, five tennis courts, a park, a playground, picnic areas, walking and bike trails and a volleyball court.
Two appraisals were done on the 30-acre tract in 2003, Hunt said. One appraisal, by Michael McCarthy of Lumberton, estimated the property value at $600,000 - or $20,000 per acre.
Barker and Associates, also of Lumberton, performed two separate appraisals. The front 10 acres was estimated at $25,000 per acre; the back 20 acres at $12,250 per acre.
The tribe's 12 acres averages $16,125 per acre, according to Hunt.
In other action, the Tribal Council learned the tribe has hired a lobbyist to assist with the tribe's federal recognition efforts.
Paul Kavinoky, managing director with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal law firm, specializes in public policy advocacy on behalf of corporate, trade association, nonprofit and local government clients. He spent nine years as a senior legislative aide to U.S. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo and U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, Jr.
The tribe plans to pay Kavinoky with money raised from a federal recognition dinner at the Southeastern Regional Agriculture Center/Farmers Market on July 3. Tickets cost $100 per couple and $50 per person.
The council also:
- Passed a resolution establishing a $150,000 line of credit with Lumbee Bank in case of emergencies. The council then agreed to use $100,000 of that $150,000 line of credit to pay an outstanding debt to Metcon Inc. for work done at the Autumn Chase Housing site in Lumberton.
- Tabled a request from the administration to designate the Pembroke Boys and Girls Club as an American Indian Club and transfer management to the tribe. Currently, 98 percent of the club's participants are American Indian.