The Economic Development Committee met on September 5th and part of their discussion revolved around the status of the Old Jail. The consensus of the committee is that the Old Jail should receive an appraisal and should be sold. The mere $300 a month we receive for the next fifteen years will not pay for the upkeep and we will be losing money as a result. We could have fundraisers for money to restore the building, but even if someone desires to lease the building, the money is insufficient for the cost of upkeep, maintenance, insurance and utilities, etc. for which the Town will still have an obligation This is my opinion is a wise choice, because as Scott Gay mentioned, whatever it is sold for, $25,000-$30,000, that money could be used to lower our debt. I agree. He stated “We can’t afford to have a jail not functioning”.
For now the SWOT analysis by the Economic Development Committee has been tabled due to the plans of the committee to address capital improvements.
In the meantime, Councilman Tom Moore provided an inventory as well as photographs of what has been stored in the building in the Veterans Park. He and other citizens would like to make the building a White Springs Museum but the building would have to be emptied first. The Building easily could show the history of White Springs. There is a Steel Storage Cabinet worth saving and a wood carving machine as well as desks, tires, old computer monitors, bicycle helmets,etc.. Councilman Moore suggested that we check a video of Tallulah Falls whose citizens have made a simple museum which works. This is some of the information I received on line.
“Located across from the main campus on Hwy 441, the Tallulah Falls Railroad Museum is owned and operated by Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School. The Museum was founded by the late Dess Oliver II, well known community leader and industrial arts teacher at Rabun Gap. From the earliest days of the museum, Rabun Gap Industrial Technology students learned the history of U.S. railways and took part in the reconstruction and maintenance of the Museum.
Mr. Oliver rode the Tallulah Falls Railroad in 1956 on a freight run from Clayton to Franklin, one week before Walt Disney began filming The Great Locomotive Chase on the site. Mr. Oliver fell in love with the area and trains, and 16 years later, he assumed the position of Industrial Technology teacher, bringing his passion for trains and railways to the Rabun Gap classroom.
Finished in 2002, the Museum contains a fascinating collection of artifacts and photographs preserving the history of the railroad, and houses a full-size two-foot gauge locomotive, passenger car, flat car, crane, hand pump car, caboose, and a motorized car. Students also laid the on-site track. Built and designed by Mr. Oliver and his Industrial Technology students, everything is handmade except for the casting for the wheels.”
It was then that Mayor Miller inquired of Ms. Tebo as to what Arthur Natteal had done with the property which was once located in the DeLegal Building. Mrs. Miller was told by Arthur Natteal that Ms. Tebo would have a list and did an advertisment regarding the property and that she gave permission for Mr. Natteal to remove it. Ms. Tebo stipulated she knew nothing about it. Yet, Mayor Miller stipulated that Arthur Natteal told her that Ms. Tebo had all the information of what happened to the property. It was never mentioned to the Council or Ms. Tebo apparently did not find the matter important. Mr. Natteal is not on the council so I do not know how she could allow him to do what he wished with the equipment.
In the meantime, Mrs. Lofton, who attended the meeting, apparently texted Arthur Natteal who came to the meeting but the hour was getting late and the council did not have the opportunity to again address the situation. The entire mess smelled a bit fishy as Mrs. Lofton and Arthur Natteal apparently had a secret of which they were laughing about. Remember, we had two wood splitters in the building and both were gone. As a result, Mayor Miller, personally, had to seek another splitter where Mr. Tennis and the Millers were able to provide wood to those in White Springs who needed to keep warm. And thankfully, Hamilton County Coordinator, Louie Goodin was kind enough to provide them with his own personal wood splitter. The County people have been extremely generous with White Springs and if we finally get our fire department back, the generosity will be returned.
Karin for the blog