The Bladen County commissioners have a new building on their hands, and, as of September, it’s an historic site.
Monday night at its monthly meeting, the Bladen County Board of Education discussed, as it has for the last few months, the Bladen County Youth Focus’ request to take possession of the Extended Hope building. The site is owned by the Board of Education and leased to Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy for $1,500 per month.
“I’m here to ask the Board of Education to relinquish ownership of Extended Hope and all property associated with it, and the 10-acre tract donated by Hattie McDowell for the training school to be built,” Bladen County Youth Focus President Minnie Price told the board.
Though the board had previously discussed the possibility, a new issue presented itself Monday night. Prior to Price addressing the board, Superintendent Robert Taylor told the board the property had recently been added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
Board of Education Attorney Gary Grady addressed the issue.
“I can’t tell you right now whether or not we can (convey the property), because this is the first time we’ve taken that direction,” he said.
“Once the building is on the national registry, you cannot sell it or demolish it unless you go through the National Historic Preservation office in Washington, D.C. or in Raleigh,” Price told the board.
Not everyone was on board with disposing of the property or donating or selling it.
“We beg the commissioners for money all the time, and we’re going to give away one of the few things we’re making money off of,” said board member Tim Benton. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Benton suggested the board renegotiate the contract, quickly followed by board member Glenn McKoy making a motion to declare the property as surplus and turn it over to the county commissioners.
The motion was seconded by Gary Rhoda and approved by the majority of the board. Dennis Edwards and Tim Benton voted against the measure, and Roger Carroll abstained. Berry Lewis was not present.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.