Town moves closer to acquiring $2 million piece of property

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
The town of Black Mountain plans to buy the Carolina Foam Fabric & Home Decor building and move its public services and parks and recreation departments there.

The town of Black Mountain has taken the next step to acquire three parcels of land near downtown to house the town's public services department.  

Town alderman concluded a public hearing on Jan. 8 by voting 5-0 to approve a resolution that authorizes the town to file an application with the N.C. Local Government Commission allowing it to seek a loan for the acquisition.  

The $2 million purchase of 304 Black Mountain Ave. - currently the home of Carolina Foam Fabric & Home Decor- could be finalized by the end of February.

On Nov. 2, the board voted to purchase the four-plus acres of land near the intersection of Black Mountain Avenue and Terry Estate Drive. The town intends to move the public services department from its 7,000-square-foot facility on U.S. 70 West to the 22,000-square-foot building.

During the Jan. 8 meeting, alderman Jeremie Konegni told the public that, having visited the existing public services building, he believed a new home for the department was necessary.

 Purchasing the Carolina Foam building "makes sense to me, logistically,” he said. “It’s a lot of effort to get all of that equipment in and out of the current building, and I think having more room would be beneficial to the town and help with responses to any issues.”

Public services director Jamey Matthews said the building on Black Mountain Avenue would be “much more suitable for the work we do than what we have now.”

The current space, he said, does not provide adequate parking for his staff.

“A lot of people think we have parking out back, but a lot of people haven’t been to our building,” he said. “Behind it we have material bins, with stuff like Roadbond, our salt and sand, our sanders and trailers we use for trailers.”

The facility doesn’t allow adequate room for tractor-trailers, which frequently make deliveries to the department, to turn around. “We’ve had to have the guys unload in the middle of (U.S. 70) before,” Matthews said.

As the town continues to grow, so do its needs, and the current public services building is being used to its capacity.

“Our equipment is all packed in there and organized according to how we use it,” Matthews said. “But, say we have a job and we need a piece of equipment, we have to empty half of the shop to get it and then put everything back once we do.”

Once the sale is complete, the town plans to relocate its parks and recreation department to the Black Mountain Avenue building. The department currently shares space in the Carver Community Center with the Swannanoa Valley Montessori School.

The 75-100 parking spaces at the Black Mountain Avenue property  will also help create more parking for the downtown business district, which is only blocks away.

Dean Luebbe, assistant town manager and finance director, told the board the application to the Local Government Commission would be sent within a week of the Jan. 8 meeting.

“It will go before their board some time in early February,” he said. “I think by Feb. 10 we’ll have approval from the LGC, and we could probably have (the sale) closed by late February or early March.”