By Jesse Wood
May 15, 2013. With AppalCART moving its operation to the N.C. 105 Bypass in the near future, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners may have options of what to do with the property where AppalCART has been stationed for almost 30 years.
Because the 1.53-acre property, which is located at 274 Winklers Creek Road is owned by the county, state and federal governments, the county will have to jump through hoops to take over the facility before any decisions regarding the property can be made.
At recent meetings regarding the proposed budget, County Manager Deron Geouque said the property currently must be used for a transportation-related function unless it works out an agreement with officials at the state and federal level.
He added that three or four years ago the county went to the state and asked for the state’s portion of the property and the state declined. He also said that the county may have to provide funds to the federal and state governments to acquire complete ownership of the property.
On Wednesday morning, Chair Nathan Miller said, “Things have changed down in Raleigh, so we may have a better chance [this time around].”
According to the Watauga County Register of Deeds, the land is valued at $733,200 and the facilities on site, which are described as 10,850-square-foot warehouse with a 1,032 square foot auto service facility, have a value of $135,000. In all the land and structures are appraised at $868,200.
Geouque said the facilities are “very worn out” and the storage is “decent.”
At the budget meetings, Geouque gave an update on what will soon be the old AppalCART facility and provided some options on what the county could do with the property if it were to secure the property.
- Sell the property
- Move the maintenance department into the facilities
- Lease the property to New River Light & Power Company, which has expressed interest.
With so many loose ends to tie up regarding the property, Miller and the rest of the commissioners haven’t seriously discussed what to do with the property.
On Wednesday, Miller said, “Obviously leasing it to New River Light and Power would be great, if we are able to do it or possibly selling it to them.”
Chris Turner, transportation director for AppalCART, said on Tuesday, “We are trying to get ready to move out by the end of the month.”
He added that the building is ready to be moved into at the first of the week, yet a transportation consultant with the state recommends staying put until assurance from bonding companies.
“When we start operating depends on the powers that be on the federal and state level,” Turner said.
Construction on the facility, which has been funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, began in the summer of 2009 and was put on hold in 2011 because of issues with McCarrol Construction undergoing financial problems and subcontractors not being paid.
Boone-based Greene Construction was awarded a contract in December to finish the facility.
A ribbon cutting for the new facility should take place soon.