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County likely to nix repairs to Oaklawn

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer
Tonight’s meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners should see a final decision regarding what to do with the old Oaklawn facility in Lincolnton after many months of discussion.
As the Times-News previously reported, commissioners met for a special work session March 12 to talk about whether the old school building in central Lincolnton is worth restoring and, if so, who should provide the funding to do so.
During that session, commissioners scheduled a vote for the meeting tonight to determine the building’s fate. From comments during that session, a 3-2 vote against fixing up the building appears likely.
Jim Stewart of Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects performed an analysis of the facility and said he doesn’t believe it is cost-effective to renovate. The estimated price tag for the project would be $484,000.
According to tonight’s meeting agenda, the board will weigh various options, including whether to renovate the building if a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant can be secured or to demolish it if the same grant can be secured for new construction and whether to authorize the existing committee to work with potential lessees most able to contribute financially to renovations or new construction on a lease for the property.
Alternatively, commissioners could decide to demolish the Oaklawn facility and not pursue a grant for new construction.
Commissioners have previously said they must weigh the cost of restoring the building with its historical value to the community. County Manager George Wood has indicated that, to some individuals from the parties interested in the building, it is extremely important for sentimental reasons.
Others, he added, appear more concerned with having a functional building.
Additional items on tonight’s agenda include:
Commissioners will hear recommendations from the Planning Board regarding a request to rezone three acres of property, located on the south side of Maybank Lane and about 1,000 feet west of June Bug Road in Howards Creek Township, from residential single-family to rural-residential. The applicant plans to split the property off from a 14.3-acre tract, under the provisions for a family subdivision, and put in a double-wide manufactured home. The Planning Board voted 4-3 to recommend approval.
Commissioners will vote on the creation and revision of library job descriptions and an amended pay plan as a result of the upcoming dissolution of the Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library System.
Commissioners will take action on a $59,300 contract for the closure of the Forney Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Commissioners will consider a contract addendum for improvements to the Lincoln County Water Treatment Plant in the amount of $44,000 for the design and bidding phases and $30,000 for the construction-engineering phase.
Chairman Alex Patton will present a “Resolution in Support of Voter Participation in the May 8, 2012, Vote to Amend the North Carolina Constitution Protecting Marriage,” to be weighed by fellow commissioners.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Citizens Center and is open to the public.

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