08/10/07 — Building gift prompts town hall debate

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Building gift prompts town hall debate

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 10, 2007 1:45 PM

There's disagreement in Pikeville over a town resident's gift -- the old BB&T building on Main Street.

Mold and location are the two main concerns, town officials say.

Town Mayor Herbert Siegel said this week that the donated building could serve as a new town hall.

But at least two town commissioners think it won't fit the town's needs.

The building has a mold problem. In a split vote, the commission awarded a $9,800 mold removal contract to Goldsboro-based ServPro of Wayne County this week.

The mold problem isn't the only reason for disagreement, however.

Some officials do not think location is suitable to be the town's official offices.

"How strong of an opinion can you write? Remember, I'm a lady," Commissioner Edith McClenny said with a laugh. "Basically, it's not suitable for a town hall."

Mrs. McClenny said it was generous of town resident Yvonne Smith to donate the building, but she sees problems with the location as a town center.

Siegel didn't know the square footage of the building, but called it larger than the town's current headquarters at 112 S.W. Railroad St.

Senior citizens make up a good share of Pikeville's residents, Mrs. McClenny said, and she said they need a drive-thru area for people who want to pay their bills.

And without a drive-thru spot, Mrs. McClenny said seniors would be forced to get out in what she calls a high traffic spot.

"It's almost like an obstacle course in the morning," she said, with trucks unloading in front of buildings.

In afternoons, she added, "It is like a speedway."

Commissioner Bruce Thomas wasn't sure of the building's viability as a town hall, but thought it could serve a purpose.

"We're not absolutely sure it's going to be the town hall," Thomas said. "But if we wanted to rent it or sell it, we've got to clean it up."

Thomas said spending about $10,000 didn't seem like much to achieve that goal.

Commissioner Johnny Weaver, who is not seeking re-election when his terms ends after the November election, had misgivings about the building.

"I think we're going to hear a lot more from the (Environmental Protection Agency)," Weaver said.

A BB&T representative contacted by the Pikeville branch did not return a phone call for comment about why the bank abandoned the old building.

Molds reproduce by producing tiny spores that float through the air, U.S. EPA Internet site says.

When the spores come in contact with a wet area, they form a colony and continue to reproduce, the site says.

The way mold reproduces is part of what concerns Weaver, who voted both against accepting the building and funding the mold remediation, he said.

"We don't know where the mold is coming from," Weaver said. "What if it's coming from next door in a building we don't own?"

Commissioners Al Greene could not be reached for comment.

Commissioner Lyman Galloway did not return a phone call seeking comment.