02/12/04 — Seven Springs urged to move on church plans

View Archive

Seven Springs urged to move on church plans

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 12, 2004 2:02 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Town board members were urged Wednesday to move ahead with plans to bring Town Hall and the library down the hill.

After the flood in 1999, town offices and the library branch were relocated to the hill above town, across N.C. 55. Town officials plan to buy the former Seven Springs Baptist Church, which was flooded, to house those two operations. The board decided to have a real estate agent proceed with the purchase of the old church for $65,000.

Wayne County Commissioner Atlas Price, who lives in Seven Springs, and several other residents of the village encouraged the board to proceed with the purchase during a public hearing Wednesday.

"I think you will not have any problem paying for it," he said. The community will probably help, he said, and the banks will be willing to loan the town some money.

The town board hopes the electricity bill will be less in the old building than in the two modular units the state provided as a Town Hall and library after the flood. The modular units aren't insulated very well, said Mrs. Kilpatrick. She said she also hopes the town can rent out the sanctuary for events to help raise money.

"If we move the library in there, we'll have to raise the floor a foot to get it out of the floodplain," she said.

But moving the library branch into town may be a problem. So far, the Wayne County Library board is opposed to a move. The board, however, hopes to change its mind in a meeting Feb. 20 at noon in the Seven Springs Restaurant.

"We're hoping it's going to be down there," said Mayor Jewel Kilpatrick of the library. But she said the town is going to buy the old church any way and move Town Hall into it. "We're not going to wait for the library. ... We're thinking positive."

Mrs. Kilpatrick said taxes won't go up to pay for the building. She said she's hoping that next year the board will be able to lower the town's property tax rate by 10 cents.

Among those attending the public hearing were Bobby and Karen Mozingo. All seven people supported the idea. Mrs. Mozingo told the board members she thinks they'll find a lot more people using the library if it's down in the village.

"It will definitely be used more down there," said Price. "There's some people out in the rural community who say they're not going on the hill. It definitely needs to be where it will be utilized."

In other business, Mayor Kilpatrick said she received a phone call from Doug Green of the Army Corps of Engineers saying there will be no help coming for those who wish to elevate their homes out of the floodplain.

He told her it would not be cost effective to elevate the homes unless the town flooded every year, and people's lives were endangered.

"Every thing we've asked for they've turned us down," she said.

She asked Green if the Corps would dredge the river and was told that can't be done because of wildlife. "I said, 'It's sad when animals are more important than human beings.'"

Town board member Danny Carter said he wouldn't raise his house "a half inch." He said if every house were raised, Seven Springs would look like "a town full of beach houses by the river."