DESTIN — An email sent out by Grace Lutheran Church on Friday provides evidence its property is in play as negotiations continue to find a location for a city high school.
The email states that Destin United Methodist Church had signed a letter of intent with Destin High School Inc., the group seeking to obtain the church’s property as a possible location for a charter school to be called Destin High School.
It further states, “DUMC has also presented an initial offer and letter of intent to Grace this morning.”
“This offer will be distributed to the Elders, PPC and staff for initial review,” the email said.
Destin City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell, president of Destin High School Inc. quickly refuted Grace Lutheran's contention that a deal had been finalized between her group and Destin United Methodist.
"At this time, a letter of intent has not been signed by Destin United Methodist Church," Ramswell said in an email.
A letter of intent, as defined by the Dictionary.com website, is “a document containing a declaration of the intentions of the writer.” Another website, Priori, states “a letter of intent to purchase of real property outlines the terms of the prospective sale before the buyer commits to the purchase.”
Rumors have been circulating that Grace Lutheran might play a role in a complicated plan that could culminate in the nonprofit Destin High School Inc. obtaining Destin United Methodist's property and either building there or re-purposing the church to meet its needs.
Grace Lutheran officials have not commented on the part their congregation might play. Efforts Friday to reach Executive Director Mike Wind and the church’s senior pastor were unsuccessful.
The email sent out Friday from the church said a “Family Forum” would be held Sunday to discuss this week’s events. It did not provide a time or location for the meeting.
A message on the Destin United Methodist Church Facebook page calls for “an important meeting” at 2 p.m. Sunday in the church's sanctuary.
Discussion at the information-only meeting will include “the sale of our church property and the purchase of other property,” the Facebook message said.
The Okaloosa Property Appraiser's Office lists the value of Destin United Methodist Church, which sits on 8.34 acres, at $4,326,632. The site lists Grace Lutheran Church, which was built on 4.97 acres, as being worth $3,830,808.
Ramswell had confirmed Thursday that Destin United Methodist Church was “one of the top two locations” under consideration for the school.
She declined to release the other favored location.
The Grace Lutheran email sent Friday warned the congregation not to speak publicly about the Destin High School proposal.
“We have not provided any comment to the media as of yet and ask you to do the same if contacted,” it said.
Ramswell said Destin High School Inc. hopes to open its charter school in August 2020.