Tryon expresses interest in Jervey-PalmerPublished 5:31pm Tuesday, August 7, 2012
County tables request to pay for study
The Town of Tryon has sent Polk County a letter of interest in obtaining the Jervey-Palmer building and requested that the county conduct a phase I study on the property.
County commissioners met Monday, Aug. 6 and tabled a decision to do the study. The county has a $2,400 estimate from Altamont Environmental for a phase I study.
Commissioner vice-chair Renée McDermott expressed concern over the county’s paying for the study, particularly because she said the county already knows the answers to a phase I study.
“I’ve looked over Altamont’s proposal for the phase I and it seems to me all the information from a phase I could be obtained from someone from Tryon talking to the county manager or someone from county maintenance,” McDermott said.
She also said as a formal environmental attorney it’s her experience that the buyer normally pays for these type studies.
She reviewed the questions on the study and said the county already knows what the building was used for and that no permits were ever issued for hazardous materials at the property either by St. Luke’s Hospital or the county department of social services (DSS).
Commissioner Cindy Walker said she understands McDermott’s points but $2,400 is not that much money and she would be in favor of doing the study if it will speed things up.
Commissioner Ted Owens also said the county is trying to work with the towns and if Tryon needs the study to be comfortable with taking the property he would be in favor.
“I don’t think this will break the bank if we do this,” Owens said.
Commissioner chair Ray Gasperson said he thinks the county and Tryon both want to see this property back on the tax rolls, to be in use and possibly preserved.
Polk County has offered to give Tryon the Jervey-Palmer building, which is located on Carolina Drive in Tryon town limits. The building was most recently used to house DSS offices; since the 1970s, it has also been the home of other county offices, such as the senior center. The building originally housed St. Luke’s Hospital. The property includes 4.92 acres and the 17,777-square-foot building.
McDermott also said three years ago a private historical association was interested in the Jervey-Palmer building to put it back into service. She suggested the county at least contact that organization prior to paying for a study. She said she doesn’t think Tryon officials understand what a phase I study will tell them and volunteered to speak with Tryon prior to the county’s next meeting. McDermott and county manager Ryan Whitson said they would discuss the study with Tryon.
Commissioners tabled the discussion until the county’s next meeting on Aug. 20 at 3 p.m.