JEFFERSON-Ashe County firefighters are one step away from having a major item crossed off their wish list.
On Monday, county commissioners will consider a agreement between the county and the Ashe County Fire and Rescue Association to lease property at the Beaver Creek Industrial Park for the purpose of construction of a fire and rescue training facility.
The property contains approximately 5.1 acres of land and is located at Lot 6 of the industrial park.
The term of the proposed lease is for 45 years at $1 annually owed in rent to the county.
The lease agreement also stipulates that the county will contribute an amount annually to be earmarked for the payment of debt incurred by the association for structures and improvements added to the property and that it will continue these annual payments during the term of the lease until such debt is paid in full.
If commissioners approve the lease, the county would also assume the obligations for maintaining insurance on the structure, taxes, and the costs of water, sewer and electricity.
If at any time during the term of the lease, the fire association is unable to operate and perform its stated purpose, the property and facility will revert back to the county subject to the condition that if there is any debt still owed to USDA Rural Development at that time, the county will, with the approval of the USDA, assume the obligation and the county will continue the operation and management of the facility for the original purpose.
All day-to-day ordinary repairs and maintenance of the facility will be the responsibility of the fire association, according to the lease.
Firefighters have been eyeing such a training facility since 2011 when they entered into public conversations on the matter.
In other business, the commissioners will hear an update on the Museum of Ashe County History from Ramona Renfroe and Lonnie Jones.
In hospital news, commissioners could hear about finances during an update on Ashe Memorial Hospital from CEO Laura Lambeth.
County officials are also expected to name a new tax administrator. A vacancy was created in that department with the departure of Keith Little, who announced his retirement in late 2016.
Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.
The Beaver Creek Industrial Park in West Jefferson could be the future home of a fire training facility.