NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - RippaVilla Incorporated will no longer serve as the management company for the historic plantation property after the City of Spring Hill voted in favor of terminating the management agreement lease this year.
Three years ago RippaVilla was gifted with the property and entered a management contract to keep the business open.
Now the RippaVilla Gift Shop's last day is on March 31.
When tourist Katherine Cheairs found out about what happened she made her way to Spring Hill to trace her roots.
“I want to take the day so I can just spend time on the grounds and also honor my ancestors,” said Katherine Cheairs.
Cheairs' father's side is from the area and she always wanted to see if she could trace her father’s history.
After doing research she came across the RippaVilla Plantation.
“As African Americans what pulls the pieces of the puzzle of our lives is complicated and the fact that you know keepers of our history and archive can be white people," she said.
She heard about the political battle with the property.
“I saw on Facebook where RippaVilla could be closing at the end of the month. And I thought, 'Oh my gosh, now is the time. I have to go and find out what’s going on,'” said Cheairs.
In less than a week, the organization will no longer have a contract to continue operating with the city.
Mayor Rick Graham explained why the BOMA feels this was the best decision.
“We were still having to pay the $100,000 subsidiary a year to keep them afloat and that was the difference between expenses and revenue,” said Mayor Graham.
The mayor says the city subsidized the property for $100,000 a year but the business was not breaking even.
RippaVilla makes their revenue by holding events, making gift shops sales, and welcoming tourists.
RippaVilla announced the city’s decision on Facebook and stated how the business was indeed profitable.
"We’re going to be hiring another management company soon and we just had an RFP a request for proposal submitted and unfortunately we only had one bidder so that’s going to be coming up for the board to decide on,” said Graham.
For Katherine, this property could provide answers to what she says has been missing in her life.
“To hear that about the possibility that you know that my ancestors may be connected to the McKissick family, you know that actually built this house, and connected to these things is really powerful and it’s the story of America and our histories are intertwined,” said Cheairs.
Mayor Graham says during this period the business will operate as usual and they will honor all scheduled events.