By Jesse Wood
Dec. 12, 2014. After purchasing the historic Banner Elk Elementary School from Avery County, the Town of Banner Elk is looking for individuals to serve on the two committees being formed to help out with what the town is calling the Banner Elk School Project.
The two committees are focused on fundraising and property uses. The Banner Elk Town Council will appoint chairpersons for each committee and will set guidelines for the appointment of committee members.
The town asks for individuals interested in serving on the committees to fill out this form and return it to the Town Manager Rick Owen.
“Please know that if you are unable to serve on one of these committees, there will be other opportunities to participant in the future of the Historic Banner Elk School and provide input to these committees and the Town Council. We realize this needs to be a community effort to see its full potential,” Owen said in a letter to community members. “Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, and share this … with others that you feel may be interested.”
The town took possession of the property on Oct. 1 from the county but didn’t close on the property until Nov. 21.
In September, the Avery County Board of Commissioners agreed unanimously to offer the property to the town for $1 million. The agreement included a 12-year, interest-free loan. In lieu of interest, the Town of Banner Elk agreed to fund roughly $30,000 to $50,000 of water usage to the Banner Elk Elementary School throughout the life of the loan.
When the agreement was announced, Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly said that plans for the school were “wide open.”
In mentioning that the community has always wanted to preserve the historic building, she said that the public has mentioned several potential uses they would like to see in the building, including a community library, theatre, a business incubator-like shopping mall for new businesses and more.
For more information, contact town hall at 828-898-5313.