Polk wants to remove Jervey-Palmer tanks

Published 10:00am Monday, November 26, 2012

Tryon originally asked the county to conduct a phase I study, which found asbestos and lead paint as well as concerns regarding two underground oil tanks.

Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson told commissioner that he obtained an estimate from Altamont Engineering in the amount of $17,926 for a phase II study.

“I’m not real sure what to recommend to the board on this,” Whitson said. “I want to cooperate with Tryon and help them but something bothered me about the price so I asked Altamont wouldn’t it be cheaper just to remove those tanks.”

Altamont’s estimate on removing the tanks is $13,000 to $15,000, Whitson said.

“I’m trying to think about what’s best long term,” Whitson said.

If the donation to Tryon fell through for some reason, Whitson said, and the county decided to tear the building down 10 years from now, those tanks could be an issue.

Commissioner vice-chair Renée McDermott expressed concern over the county spending money on a phase II saying it is normally the buyer who pays for such studies. She also expressed the same concern prior to the county paying for the phase I study.

McDermott said she doesn’t know whether regulations still allow it but it used to be allowed to close in tanks so it may be possible to leave the tanks in the ground.

Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, Nov. 20, but had not yet been contacted by the county. Council was updated what the county proposed and decided to discuss the matter in closed session following the meeting.

The county decided earlier this year that the best use of the Jervey-Palmer building would be to donate it to Tryon, since its located and zoned within town limits. The county hired Altamont Engineering for $2,400 to conduct the phase I study.

The county vacated the building last year after housing county offices there, including the department of social services and the senior center since the 1970s.

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