Mount Jackson to accept bids on Triplett building
Town council announced Tuesday it will begin accepting bids on the old Triplett school building.
The announcement comes after two open house sessions at the school in which the community was invited to tour the building, see its dilapidated state and offer comments on whether the town should sell it or pay to renovate out of pocket.
After meeting with some of the residents at the open house, Whitney Miller, chair of the public properties committee, said most residents are more concerned with the outcome of the property more than who owns it.
“The consensus was split right down the middle,” Miller said. “At the open house, the majority weren’t focused for or against selling, it was more of, ‘Here’s what I would like to see here.'”
Likewise, Town Manager Kevin Fauber said there’s no definite community consensus as to what it wants.
“Some people in the town and community feel like the town should hold its ownership, and some don’t,” Fauber said. “The reaction is quite mixed.”
Fauber said the town will be accepting and reviewing bids until June 30 before it hears citizen comments at a public hearing July 12. Pending the magnitude of the bids and the opinions offered at the public hearing, council could make a decision on the spot.
However, Miller said much of the reasoning behind accepting the bids is to see what kinds of ideas people have for the property. She said she has noticed a demand for a community center of sorts, but the bids will give more specific and quantitative plans for how to make it happen.
The town is also putting together an estimate of what renovation will cost without a sale. That figure should be available before the public hearing.
Deliberations for what to do with the building have been going on for some time now. In May, council members said they would consider selling the building after two local businessmen, Todd Holtzman and Dexter Mumaw, placed a bid on the building. Their plan is to turn it into a center for the history and arts, as well as building a separate structure that would host 28 duplex apartments.
As of now, Holtzman and Mumaw’s bid is the only one the town has received.
The school building has been in use dating back to the 1930s. Until recently, the Mount Jackson Fire and Rescue Department used the building as its main station before moving into its new facility in April.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org