By Mark S. Kenna
Oct. 16, 2013. Boone Town Council gave permission for “immediate” items on maintenance list to be taken care of for the town-owned Daniel Boone Park Tuesday night.
Of the maintenance report requested by Town Council at last month’s meeting, Town Council approved the removal of all electrical wiring and lighting currently located in trees, removal or replacement of the wall stage left and the implementation of signs and barriers to prevent the public from entering the backstage areas.
Council also gave the Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA) the responsibility of replacing exit signs and emergency lighting in the dressing rooms.
Town Council talked about the significance of the “Horn In The West Outdoor” drama as a cultural and financial asset for the town of Boone. However there is a host of other issues in town that are on the town’s docket. Issues like redeveloping Howard Street, the condition of the public works building and other capital needs are also on Town Council’s list.
“We have had the discussion on this property rolling for six months,” Andy Ball, town council member, said.
Things that need to be done to improve the safety of the facility are important, Ball added.
Town Council Member Rennie Brantz cited the 2007 Greene Architecture study of which gave a myriad of recommendations of different issues with the amphitheatre and other buildings in the surrounding area.
Since the study the Powder Horn building was demolished and electrical services were replaced.
Yet, the list presented to Town Council last night by Todd Miller, building inspector for the town of Boone, did not have a real estimate for big ticket renovations like the back stage structures and the screening wall adjacent to the electric building. These items listed are the most significant which should be dealt with before the next production season begins.
This means that an engineering firm would need to be brought in because of the environment the structures face through Boone’s winter, Miller added.
Jamie Leigh, mayor-pro tem, focused the discussion to the most immediate renovations.
“We realistically need to come up with a plan that’s going to allow this park to be used in the mean time,” Leigh said.
The problem is apparent, but there is no cost associated with it, Leigh added.
Ball raised the question of bringing in an outside firm or to do the assessments “in house.”
Greg Young, town manager, aided the discussion by determining what renovations the town is obligated to and which SAHA is responsible for.
SAHA needs to rectify issues where alterations to the site have been executed without going though the proper channels of inspection, Young said.
Issues dealing with health, safety and welfare need to come first, Randy Jones, architect, said.
These contracts are going to have to have something tangible for them to come up with a price, Jones said.
Once an engineer comes in then they cannot just ignore certain needs and fix others, Same Fergiuele, town attorney, said.
Miller’s report does not even deal with water run-off and infrastructure, Pilar Fotta, cultural director for the town of Boone, said.
Leigh considered the issue that Boone may not be able to afford to renovate the property at this time. With this, there needs to be a reassessment for the other tentative projects in the town and rank each by urgency.
The main concern right now is keeping the public out of areas that are not safe, Fotta said.
The Halloween event held every year, the Haunted Horn Ghost Trail, will still go on as scheduled at the month.