Tryon Arts and Crafts looking to expand

Published 10:04 pm Monday, June 23, 2014

Tryon Arts and Crafts School is looking to expand its space with officials saying its best option is to somehow obtain Harmon Field’s adjacent building.
Tryon Town Council met June 17 and heard from Jerry Perry, Tryon Arts and Crafts co-president, who told council the non-profit is looking to expand the school.
Perry said Tryon Arts and Crafts is different from other arts organizations and wants to become more of a school than it is currently. He said there’s already some outreach to universities to get credits and Tryon Arts and Crafts wants to do more of that, but it needs more space.
The Tryon Arts and Crafts School is located on Harmon Field Rd. in one of the former Tryon Middle School buildings. The town and Harmon Field purchased the other building and open-air gym through a state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant a few years ago. At the same time, Tryon Arts and Crafts purchased the other building.
Perry said the school is starting to build but space is getting tight.
“The good news is we want to do something for the community to bring people in,” Perry said.
Perry said Tryon Arts and Crafts needs the town’s building to expand and mentioned the town preparing to spend money to patch the roof on its building and other maintenance issues that are approaching.
“We’d like to work with the town to figure out how we can reach that goal,” Perry said.
Commissioner Roy Miller said one of the issues about the town selling the building is the PARTF grant. The town went to the state in the past to see if it could sell the building, which it can, but there are strict rules about how the town can sell the building and what it has to do with the money because it was purchased partly through state funding. Miller said the town has been through this once and if it sells the building the town will have to turn around and purchase more property for recreational uses or give the money back to the state.
Tryon attorney Bailey Nager said the town would have to get fair market value for the property and purchase new property. The town cannot use the money from the sale for improvements to existing recreational facilities. It would have to create a new recreational facility with the money.
Nager did say a long-term lease is a possibility because Tryon Arts and Crafts is recognized as a recreational use. He added that maybe a part of the lease could be that Tryon Arts and Crafts maintains the building.
Miller asked Perry if Tryon Arts and Crafts has considered leasing the remainder of the open space in the building.
“I think we have four rooms plus the old library (available),” Miller said. “I think the karate outfit is still there. So the entire building is open except one room.”
Perry said if they leased most but not all of the building it would come down to maintenance. Perry said if the school leased the entire building then it could afford to maintain the building.
Miller said the school would be receiving about 95 percent of the building until the one rented space’s lease is up.
Perry said later this year or next year, somehow Tryon Arts and Crafts wants to acquire the building. He said if the town said the school could have the building tomorrow, however, he’s not sure they would be ready.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Miller. “I would love to see the entire building utilized.”
Tryon Mayor Jim Wright asked if the town could authorize town manager Joey Davis, Tryon Arts and Crafts and the Harmon Field Board of Supervisors to discuss possibilities.
Council gave consensus for discussions to begin, with Davis saying he will talk to the Harmon Field board at its next meeting.

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