County closer to new fire training center, middle school

By Jesse Campbell -

JEFFERSON-Ashe County Commissioners agreed to terms on two land deals on April 17 that should have a lasting impact on community infrastructures and facilities.

In a 5-0 vote, commissioners agreed to a lease agreement with Ashe County Fire and Rescue Association for the purpose of constructing a fire training facility in the Beaver Creek Industrial Park. Although there was no serious discussion concerning the facility prior to last week’s vote, commissioners and fire fighters have been engaged in talks about the need for such a facility for at least five years.

The property contains approximately 5.1 acres of land and is located at Lot 6 of the Industrial Park. The term of the proposed lease is for 45 years at $1 annually owed in rent to the county. The county has also agreed to contribute and amount annually to be earmarked for the payment of debt incurred by the association for structures and improvements added to the property and that it will continue these annual payments during the term of the lease until such debt is paid in full

Ashe will also assume the obligations for maintaining insurance on the structure, taxes and the costs of water, sewer and electricity.

If at any time during the term of the lease, the fire association is unable to operate and perform its stated purpose, the property and facility will revert back to the county subject to the condition that if there is any debt still owed to USDA Rural Development at the time, the county will assume the obligation.

All day-to-day ordinary repairs and maintenance of the facility will be the responsibility of the fire association.

Middle school land deal

Construction crews are now one step closer to breaking ground for a new middle school. Commissioners voted 5-0 to secure a loan from First National Bank to purchase a 40-acre tract of land for a new middle school.

Ashe County’s current facility in Warrensville is said to be outdated and unable to accommodate any serious future expansion plans, school officials have previously stated.

In January, commissioners voted 5-0 in agreeing to the purchase of 40 acres of land owned by Larry Dollar for $40,000 an acre of $1.6 million. Per the original agreement, the commissioners also approved an escrow payment of $45,000 until funding in full is secured.

The new middle school site sits near the newly expanded American Emergency Vehicle’s plant in Jefferson. Groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled to begin in spring 2019.

Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.

By Jesse Campbell

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