ERWIN — The town of Erwin is now the owner of two parcels of property in downtown Erwin. And while the property is currently vacant, town officials have big plans in mind for the land.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the board approved the purchase of the vacant property from owner Lynn Bradshaw for $75,000.
Last month, the board approved allowing Town Recorder Randy Trivette to negotiate the purchase of the land, which is located on Nolichucky Avenue near the Unicoi County Library. Bradshaw’s asking price of $75,000 was the result of these negotiations.
The board previously approved the hiring of planning firm Kimley-Horn to complete a downtown revitalization master plan. Planners with the firm pointed to the property as a possible location for a playground and skate park. Bradshaw said he wanted to be a part of the process because it would be beneficial to Erwin’s youth.
“I support that, and the people that I know know that we’ve got to have something for youth,” Bradsaw said.
The board unanimously approved the property’s purchase.
“I think it’s going to be one of those things where if we don’t do it, we’re going to kick ourselves later,” Aldermen Mark Lafever said.
Trivette said planners with Kimley-Horn will likely finish the master plan early next year, at which time they will present phases of the plan and cost estimates to the board. Once those phasing details are revealed, Trivette said the board will be able to essentially prioritize which ones to proceed with first.
Trivette said he is also supportive of the plans for the property.
“For years, Nolichucky (Avenue) has seemed like a back alley, it’s not really been a part of downtown,” Trivette said. “It’s hard to get businesses to open back there because there’s not a lot of traffic and there’s not a lot of people who visit.
“But when we start bringing it up to new standards and making it a part of the downtown, we’re going to open up a whole new world down there with the library, with this park, with the skateboard park, with other businesses that could open across the street. ... So I think it’s going to be a part of the downtown block and circle now instead of having downtown just being Main Street.”
The board also approved the second and final reading of an amendment to the Municipal Zoning Ordinance’s Comprehensive Sign Ordinance.