Board ponders old property options

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lincoln County supervisors are eyeingoptions for dealing with several derelict properties, including theold Keystone building and the former site of a gas station situatednext to a parking lot used by employees of the governmentcomplex.

    At their meeting Tuesday morning, supervisors discussed options forexpanding a government complex parking space situated at the cornerof East Chickasaw and South First streets. An empty slab, theformer site of Zip Service Station, sits between the parking lotand South First Street.

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    Supervisors agreed the slab is an eyesore and presents a hazard toemployees that may walk across it from the parking lot.

    Board president and District Three Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamsonsaid several obstacles prevent the board from purchasing the slab.According to Williamson, dealing with the owner of the property hasproved difficult.

    “Eminent domain is the only way you are going to get it,”Williamson said.

    The notion of using eminent domain to seize the property was notreceived well by those at the meeting.

    Williamson also said the property is contaminated by its former useas a gas station.

    The board mulled purchasing the property about 10 years for$50,000, but the presence of gas tanks on the site presented aproblem, according to Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.

    “He would not convey a clean piece of property to us,” Bishop saidof the property owner, whom county officials could not identifyTuesday.

    Bishop said the property owner is typically required to provide aclean bill of health for property before it is sold.

    Supervisors briefly discussed moving forward with plans to havesoil samples done to determine the extent of contamination, but noaction was taken.

    Quinn Jordan, director of the Lincoln County Multi-PurposeFacility, also appeared before the board to discuss updates to themulti-purpose facility.

    During his presentation Jordan suggested the possibility that theboard consider a study to determine possible uses for the oldKeystone Seneca building located in the county’s IndustrialPark.

    The county has owned both the building and property of the formerKeystone plant since 2008. The building has been empty since2007.

    Discussion of the site prompted Williamson to suggest a number ofentertainment-themed uses for the property, including as a venuefor paintball and laser tag.

    However, Bishop said options for the building are limited.

    “It’s an antiquated building,” Bishop said. “But one thing it doeshave is a lot of metal.”

    Following the meeting, Jordan downplayed the idea of a study.

    “We’re not ready for it,” Jordan said.