By Jesse Wood
Sept. 14, 2012. Last week, Samaritan’s Purse became the final bidder on the foreclosed Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock after no entities submitted an upset bid in the 10-day deadline.
The sale likely won’t be official for several weeks because of the effort involved in closing sales and deed transfers, according to the civil division of the Watauga County Clerk of Court.
The bid amount was $1,493,100 and represents a 5 percent increase from the initial bid by Wells Fargo Bank on Aug. 21 and is much lower than the nearly $4 million dollar property tax value.
When Samaritan’s Purse held the high bid, Karina Petersen, media relations coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse, released a statement to High Country Press on Sept. 5, saying that the organization hopes to use the old performing arts venue as a training facility, conference center and meeting space to support its relief and evangelism ministries around the world.
With the nonprofit religious organization buying the foreclosed Hayes Center, Watauga County wouldn’t receive $12,043 in property taxes and Blowing Rock won’t get $10,774 in property taxes, according to Watauga County Tax Collection’s officials.
Of course, this wouldn’t be different from before because the Blowing Rock Community Arts Center Foundation had tax-exempt status as well.
The exemption won’t rollover, as Samaritan’s Purse must file for this exemption status on the Hayes Center.
Statement by Petersen on Sept. 14, 2012:
“Samaritan’s Purse is grateful that our bid has been accepted to purchase the former Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock. We have needed a facility for training, conferences, and meetings, and we were able to purchase this building—which would meet those needs—for significantly less than what it would cost to build.
Our organization had a staff of less than a dozen when it began in the High Country more than 30 years ago. We now have nearly 500 employees based at our international headquarters in Boone and over 2,000 more across the United States and around the world.
We also have 100,000 volunteers nationwide who play a vital role in our projects, including Operation Christmas Child, U.S. Disaster Relief and World Medical Mission. Many staff and key volunteers come regularly to Boone for meetings and training. This facility will be an important asset to our ministry as we serve Christ through our worldwide relief and evangelism projects. In addition, we hope to be able to make it available to churches and other Christian organizations that work to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”