The battle to save the Northport Community Center from a planned mixed-use residential and retail development appears to have ended not with a bang but with a whimper Monday night.

The Northport City Council has unanimously voted to rescind a June agreement with the Beeker Property Group to build apartments and a coffee shop at the site of the Northport Community Center and the park connected to it.

The agreement was meant to be finalized on after six months of due diligence.

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The proposed development and the way the council handled it led to widespread outrage, and mayor John Hinton vowed to veto the sale to Beeker if the council voted to sell it after due diligence ended.

The item was not on the agenda for the meeting and was a last-minute addition from Councilwoman Christie Bobo - a move that seemed to surprise fellow Councilwoman Jamie Dykes, who objected to not knowing "what the hell" she was voting on when President Jeff Hogg tried to explain the change.

Council president Jeff Hogg described the resolution as rescinding the Request for Proposals from the property group in June, "asking that the city no longer look at any development at this point," make repairs to the building and examine ways for the city to use it.

"It's been well-known that I was definitely for looking at the RFPs for the community center property and to see what that could generate, what it could do," Hogg said at the end of the meeting. "Councilwoman Bobo and I talked as part of the retail committee and some of those items could be placed elsewhere. There are some items that I think would be very unique to that specific piece of property and what they're trying to do, but Councilwoman Bobo has suggested Beeker Property Group continue their efforts but not at that property."

Mayor John Hinton said he hoped the unanimous vote to preserve the community center and a second vote that night to offer a generous contract to keep the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport would mend fences after a year of strife and conflict in City Hall.

"With the actions by the council tonight and the discussions that have gone on, I just hope the discord in our community will stop," Hinton said. "That we can unify together and all support the three recreational parks that will boost our city in great measure."

This is a breaking, developing story - stay connected to the Thread for more as it becomes available.

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