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Hope Mills board votes to sell Trade Street building


HOPE MILLS —  The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 Monday night to sell the Trade Street property that at one time had been considered for a museum or reproduction of an old mill home.

Commissioners Bryan Marley, Kenjuana McCray and Grilley Mitchell voted in favor of selling the property; Commissioners Jerry Legge and Joanne Scarola voted in opposition.

The property at 5554 Trade St. has 999 square feet and was built in 1920. It is zoned Planned Commercial, which means it cannot be a private dwelling.

The property was sold to LMC Financial Services Inc. as-is for $35,000.

Legge told Mayor Jackie Warner he had a problem with selling the property for $35,000.

Before the vote, he asked Don Sisko, the town’s PWC director: “How much do we have in that building at the present time?”

“About ten thousand dollars,” Sisko replied.

“Didn’t we give about fifty for it?” Legge asked.

“I believe that’s what the town paid for it,” Sisko said.

“Well that’s a lot more than ten,” Legge replied.

Town Manager Scott Meszaros interjected and broke down the cost. After the purchase of the home and needed improvements, “the town has invested about $110,000,” Meszaros told the board.

According to minutes of the town’s historic committee meetings, the site had once been considered for use as a museum or reproduction of an old mill house.

“It’s going to take a lot more resources to get the property up and running,” Meszaros said.

The house can only hold about five people, Meszaros reminded the board.

“The town really doesn’t have a need or use for it,” he said.

The recommendation by town staff members was to sell the property. The property was purchased by previous boards.

"We inherit those decisions and we make the best decisions we can with the current information,” Meszaros told the board.

“We must be careful and not take hits like that on the chin very often,” Legge said. “That’s a considerable loss for the citizens of the town.”

Other business

The board also heard an update on the public safety building from architect Scott Garner.

He said the roof is complete and, overall, the building is 75% completed and should be finished by the first of September.

“That would complete Phase 2 of the project,” Garner told the board.

Phase 3 included the demolition of the previous fire station, Garner said.

Garner also asked the board to approve a change order in the amount of $10,879. The request covered changes to the counters, cabinets and a desk. The amount also included new electrical work that would be required. Mitchell asked Garner if the change order was necessary.

“Is it required?” Mitchell asked.

Garner responded that the improvements would benefit the Police Department.

The board voted 3-2 against the change order. Scarola, Mitchell and McCray opposed the request while Marley and Legge voted in favor.

After the vote, Police Chief Stephen Dollinger approached the board to offer an explanation of what the work covered by the change order would provide.

Dollinger said the initial floor plans allowed for the desk and personnel who control public records to be viewed by anyone who walked into the foyer.

“Many of these records are private and confidential and never meant to be seen by the public,” Dollinger said.

The change order would allow the work stations in the public records area to be moved and not be in an exposed location, Dollinger said. After the chief’s explanation, board members asked Garner for similar details and clarification in the future. 

The board then voted again on the request and unanimously agreed on the change order.

Under new business, the board voted 3-2 to approve a full responder contract with Pearce’s Mill and Cotton Volunteer Fire Departments. Marley, Mitchell and Legge voted in favor; Scarola and McCray were opposed.

The contract gives the fire departments the authority to respond and assist the Hope Mills Fire Department as needed. Warner said the contract and goodwill toward other departments are especially helpful as the town grows.

The contract also allows the benefit of fire protection in more areas without the town having to build a station, Meszaros said.

The board met in closed session to hear reports on investigations of alleged criminal conduct and to discuss a personnel matter.

Jason Canady covers Hope Mills for CityViewTODAY. He can be reached at jcanady@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Hope Mills, Board of Commissioners, Trade Street building, public safety building