During the last Tucker County Commission meeting, the commissioners voted to purchase a four and a half parcel property from Western Pocahontas Properties for $40,000. The location of the parcel is between the carwash and ball field off Route 32 in Davis.
The Commission commented that a second EMS station, a satellite office for law enforcement, a visitor’s center, or offices for public land managers are future possibilities for the property.
“This four and a half acres surrounds the acre the county already owns,” Commissioner Patrick Darling said. “If that’s the location on which we want to try to build station two, we can do that with or without this four and a half acres. If we can pick up this four and a half acres, then we can kind of have a complex.”
“The county approached us back in 2016, and we told them we would review the offer,” Western Pocahontas Properties Land Resources Manager Doug Toothman said. “We revisited the offer made by the county.”
In a special meeting, concerns were addressed about the backlash the Commission may receive about the purchase of the property. “We have been very transparent about this,” Commission President Diane Hinkle said. “This has been in the works for two years.”
She continued, “Funding was set aside two years ago if this opportunity came along, and it’s in a special line item, just for these things.” The funds for the purchase will be pulled from the Commission’s Rehabilitation of Property Line Item.
“There’s nothing to hide here, we are trying to do what is in the best interest of the county,” Hinkle said.
Previously, concerns about mining activity and wetland areas on the property were expressed. The property was undermined, but exposed mine shifts do not exist on the property. “It’s been undermined, but there’s no big abandoned mine shafts underneath of it,” Darlington said.
A GIS specialist did not identify any wetland areas on the tract. The report stated, “These two boundaries of the property would be the only areas where water would or could naturally drain or pool, but topographic and 1-meter resolution satellite imagery do not show any ponds or standing bodies of water on this property.”
The county will purchase the land for approximately $10,000 an acre. “Which is a very good offer when you look at appraised values and what real estate is going for in that area,” Darlington said at a special meeting. “This is our only window of opportunity if we choose to do so,” Darlington said.
The Development Authority, the Planning Commission, the Building Commission, and the towns of Davis and Thomas wrote letters of support to the Commission. “The assessor did not write a letter of support, but he indicated this would be a good investment for the county,” Hinkle said.
The Development Authority owns the industrial park off Corridor H, “With intentions of commercial and light industrial development, not necessarily county offices or any kind of county land,” Development Authority Executive Director Steven Leyh said.
The Commission went into Executive session to discuss the purchase. TheCommission accepted the offer from Western Pocahontas Property to purchase the property for $40,000 contingent upon further delineation of the rights of way request by Western Pocahontas Property.
“I think this is something that, maybe won’t benefit us now, but it will in the future. If we don’t purchase it now, we won’t have the opportunity in the future,” Commissioner Lowell Moore said.
“The thing about it is when you’re in a position such as we are as a Commission, trying to look at the future for the county, you don’t have the luxury of only looking at the immediate, you have to plan for the future,” Darlington said. “And I think looking at this parcel of property and the purchase of this parcel of property is a great step for Tucker County.”