Meeting for only an hour-and-a-half Monday night, the Anderson County Commission did vote to go ahead and close on the county’s purchase of property on Norris Freeway for use as the future home of the Glen Alpine convenience center.
The 17-acre parcel on Highway 411 will cost the county $375,000. Work remains to be done to grade the site, modify the design of the new convenience center and address issues with TDOT over ingress and egress to the new facility, but when the purchase is finalized, should put to bed one of the longest-running dilemmas facing both county and Clinton city leaders.
For approximately two decades now, Clinton leaders have pushed for the county to move the convenience center from its current location in a prime commercial district off of Highway 61 (Charles Seivers Boulevard) and the two sides have butted heads, at one point ending up in court. Previous efforts to move the center have also fallen flat, including one several years ago derailed when businesses in the county-owned David Jones Industrial Park sued the county, claiming it had violated an agreement with those companies to not put the convenience center in the park. A specially-appointed chancellor ruled against the county in that lawsuit and the search for a suitable piece of property began anew.
No timetable has been issued for the construction of the new center or for its eventual relocation, but for longtime observers of local politics, there is finally a real light at the end of the tunnel.
Commissioners on Monday also referred further discussion of the sale of the property at 205 Main Street in Clinton back to the Operations Committee.
As we have reported, the building and property were purchased for $600,000 in November of 2017 by the county for use as an Anderson County Senior Center. Despite assurances that the building had been inspected and that no problems had been identified, it soon became apparent that there were numerous issues with the building, specifically issues related to mold and the building’s roof. The estimated cost to fix the building for the seniors came in at somewhere between $600,000 to $1 million, so officials have decided to pursue one of two options.
The first option is to put the building up for sale, accepting sealed bids for a minimum of 90 days. The second option is to explore the possibility of relocating another county government operation, such as Fleet Service, to the building, which has been used previously as an auto dealership and more recently, an events center.
While more information is gathered, commissioners on Monday authorized County Mayor Terry Frank to have an appraisal of the property conducted within the next month.