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Council Rescinds Motion To Allocate 20K Postponing Demolition at Horn, Adopts SAHA Two-Month License

By Mark S. Kenna

Dec. 20, 2013. Boone Town Council adopted a two-month license with the Southern Appalachian Historical Association (SAHA) Tuesday night and postponed the demolition and disposal of structures in Daniel Boone Park.

In adopting the license, council rescinded a motion from a November meeting to allocate $20,000 for demolition of and disposal of the Pit Building, left stage wall and back stage wall at the request of the SAHA board of directors.   

At the Dec. 16 CRAB meeting, representatives of the SAHA Board approached CRAB with a request to make a recommendation to postpone the demolition of structures of Daniel Boone Park to allow SAHA time to hire a structural engineer. SAHA also made an additional request to reallocate the $20,000 originally for demolition and disposal for repairs; CRAB did not support the latter because of a lack of information on the cost and extent of the repairs.

Pilar Fotta, director of Cultural Resources for Boone, during Tuesday’s meeting brought a list of conditions that should be added to the 60-day license based on conversations at CRAB meetings with council and staff.

-Complete the process of correcting the illegal and improper electrical work including the PIT building and the removal of lighted exit signs in the dressing rooms

-Establish a meeting with the SAHA chair and finance representative, and the cultural resource director and town staff prior to Jan. 30, 2014 to provide updated information for plans for SAHA’s 2014 season and evaluate and inspect the progress of the facilities including a timeline for repairs, total cost with break down of estimated repairs, plans and drawing for proposed repairs and how the repairs will be paid for

-SAHA provide financial information and material information because of the new financial and staff responsibilities the town will carry in switching from a lease agreement to a license

Fotta also cited to council a list of questions that CRAB had in regards to structures and if permission is needed to hire a structural engineer. As well as which structures need to be designed by a structural engineer and when will the town have input on repairs including when they be executed.

There has been talk that CRAB and the town are not supportive of SAHA, Fotta said.

“That is really not true,” Fotta said. “Everything that we’re doing is really for public safety issues. There are some serious issues out there. As we move to this new licensing agreement, we’re assuming more responsibility.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Rennie Brantz asked if the Jan. 30 deadline was too inflexible.

Fotta responded that the deadline is to make sure that CRAB is able to consider the issue for the Feb. 3 meeting and so council can consider the issue at the Feb. 18

Which is the latest council can consider the issue before the end of SAHA’s two-month license on March 1.

If a longer-term license agreement cannot be drafted before the two-month deadline council will have to extend the license or come up with another option, Fotta said.

Council cannot just extend the two-month license because of the dangerous conditions on the property before usage, Furgiuele said, adding that the town will have to take measures to protect the public if the dangerous conditions are not either torn down or repaired.

There is also the issue of balancing the use of Daniel Boone Park for other things like the farmers’ market and parking, something that has brought in revenue, Furgiuele said.

The decision of opting for demolition of repairs is left up to the council, Fotta said.

“I am looking for a way to have a 2014 ‘Horn in the West’ season,” Brantz said, adding that council adopt the license with the conditions that Fotta proposed and approve the recommendation of the CRAB board.

Town Council Member Quint David asked what are the conditions of the structures and if they have been roped off.

Eric Gustaveson, superintendent for the town, responded that the PIT building is locked, the catwalk is barricaded off and there are six no trespassing signs posted; however, people can still walk around the facility.

It is important for the new council to show support for SAHA, David said.

Extending the time to a month or two is fine if SAHA and CRAB support it, but because of the danger of the facilities it is a concern that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, David added.

Planning and Inspections Director Bill Bailey recommended closing off the entire property to any unauthorized party.

Council will have to allocate funds to secure the property, Furgiuele said.

“The ‘no trespassing’ signs are helpful but I don’t think that they’re enough,” Furgiuele added.

Town Manager Greg Young suggested allocating $3,000 from the general fund balance for fencing to secure the property. 

During public comment Mary Greene, a community member, said council should treasure SAHA. And help the organization move though whatever process needs to happen to make it a win-win for everyone.