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LETTERS / Setting the Record Straight

To the Citizens of the Town of Boone and Watauga County:

I would like to share my thoughts and clarify some confusion that may
have arisen regarding the County’s project to build a parking deck on
property that was known as the Hardin/Turner House, located on Rivers
Street in Downtown Boone, across from the County’s Administrative

To start, I have always been very supportive of any efforts that
individuals and the Town have put forth through the years to preserve
historical properties.  The best examples of those efforts were the
purchase of the Post Office and the Appalachian Theatre.  If anyone
were to believe that I or the County does not see value in preserving
historical buildings, such beliefs would be based on misunderstandings
and misinformation.  All of the facts stated below are contained in
the public record.

Several years ago, the County identified a need to increase free
parking around the Courthouse to meet the demands of citizens who work
for and who do business with the administrative branch of the County
and the Watauga County Courthouse.  The parking that is currently
available is simply insufficient.  When the owner of the Turner House
approached the County expressing an interest to sell, the County
responded by negotiating a contract to purchase it.  The plan was to
use the property to construct a parking deck which would solve the
increasing need for above mentioned free parking.

Although the Turner House was approaching 100 years old, it was never
on the Historic Registry.  However, when the Town of Boone expressed
interest in purchasing and/or preserving the Turner House, the County
was willing to extend its demolition permit to give the County and
Town time to see if something could be worked out that was financially
feasible.  After two years, when it became evident that the County and
the Town of Boone were unable to find a viable,reasonably priced
alternative, the County decided to proceed with its original plan.
That being said, in order to give the Town and other concerned
citizens one last opportunity to preserve the Turner House, the County
offered it through a public auction.  After inviting bids in our local
newspapers, only one individual made an inquiry but did not offer a
formal proposal.  Neither the Town of Boone, nor any other individual
made an offer to purchase the Turner House.

By the time a decision was needed, the County had given the Community
every opportunity to be heard and all comments and concerns were taken
into consideration.  Given the facts that: the Turner House could not
be offered the protection as an historical property; the County and
Town could not find common ground on how to resolve the County’s
parking obligations; no one (including the town) bid to purchase it;
and the County’s permit was due to expire, the County had no other
option but to move forward with its original plan at the time of

No further comments regarding this property will be forthcoming from me.

Commissioner Carrington Pertalion