Board approves land purchase for Jonesborough Senior Center

Sue Guinn Legg • Mar 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM

The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen on Monday approved the purchase of just more than four acres located adjacent to the McKinney Arts Center at East Main Street and Longview Drive for construction of the new Jonesborough Senior Center.

Town attorney Jim Wheeler told the board the property is owned by two families who have agreed to a total purchase price of $198,000.

According to Wheeler, the negotiated purchase price is about 10 percent more than the appraised value and within the limit of the appraised value the town normally offers property owners in order to avoid a court action to condemn needed property.

Wheeler said the owners of the least expensive of the two properties, the Hash family, conditioned their $53,000 purchase price on the town’s designation of a programming room in the new center to be named in honor of two former Jonesborough mayors, the late Lyle and Grace Haws.

The other property owners, the Saylor family who own a house on site, have agreed to a sale price of $145,000.

With alderman Jerome Fitzgerald absent, the board voted unanimously to accept both purchase prices and the contingency for the Haws programming room. Following their vote, Mayor Kelly Wolfe instructed Wheeler to draft contracts for execution of the purchase agreements as soon as possible.

In a memorandum to the board, Town Administrator Bob Browning said plans for the center have been revised to increase the total square footage by including a full lower level and by removing initial plans for a covered front porch and other “build-out decorative features.”

The revised plans provide for a 15,650-square-foot main level and a lower level with 7,220 square feet of space that will be finished initially, 880 square feet of mechanical space and an additional 6,300 square feet that can be finished in the future for program expansion.

The property also has space for construction of an additional building that could be used for a gym or indoor aquatics and for increased parking.

Browning said the site was selected because of its proximity to downtown and to the McKinney Art Center currently under renovation in the former Booker T. Washington School building.

The town’s total budget for the project is $2.3 million.

In other business, the board voted to approve on first reading a proposal to create a new temporary business permit for establishments that wish to operate for only a portion of the year. It tabled for one month a move to secure property to be contributed to the town for the construction of a new access road to run adjacent to Highway 11E from the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store near Headtown Road west to Rita’s Place near Boone Street.

Kelly said the new access road would open up several lots for commercial development including one lot being considered for development of a “very popular” restaurant chain.

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