Courthouse site list narrows

Published 10:37 am Friday, October 28, 2011

WINTON – Three sites have emerged as the leading contenders for Hertford County’s new courthouse; none are located in or near Winton, the current seat of county government.

During Tuesday’s scheduled workshop, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to direct County Manager Loria Williams to seek the best offer obtainable for land acquisition from the owners of three particular tracts. The top three, listed in no particular order, are:

Percy Bunch tract (25+ acres located near the intersection of US 158 Business and the Murfreesboro Bypass; land is valued at $262,683);

Larry and Nancy Freeman tract (56+ acres located on US 13 north of Ahoskie; land value is $155,283); and

Pierce Beasley & Company, Inc. tract (25 acres located on Community College Road in Union near the old Roanoke-Chowan Mental Health facility; land value is $124,070).

Commissioner Howard Hunter III made the motion, with a second from Commission Vice Chairman Curtis Freeman, to have Williams seek the best offer on those three tracts. That motion also directed Williams to seek additional information on the sewer installation costs and sources of funds for the Freeman tract; water costs for the Pierce Beasley tract and written assurance from Town of Murfreesboro officials that should the Bunch tract be selected, the town will bear the cost of extending sewer to the site and will exclude that particular piece of property in its entirety from Murfreesboro’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

In a summary sheet provided to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, the total cost for infrastructure improvements to the Bunch tract is $190,500; $759,339 to the Freeman tract ($606,320 of which is to extend a sewer line from Ahoskie – town officials will solicit grant funds to assist in that cost); and $109,000 to the Pierce Beasley tract.

“By no means does this rule out any tract of land that was considered, including Winton,” Williams said. “No formal action has been taken as to exactly where the courthouse will be built. What the commissioners did at Tuesday’s workshop was a directive to me to seek more information on these three particular tracts.”

Six other tracts were listed on the summary sheet of potential courthouse locations. They included:

The Harrell property (Ahoskie; 130+ acres of land valued at $288,134);

Hertford County Schools property (Murfreesboro; 40+ acres valued at $68,993);

Jordan property (Winton; 30 acres valued at $102,308);

Riversedge, LLC (Winton; 70 acres valued at $906,461);

Stuart Pierce property (Ahoskie; 20 acres valued at $22,000 per acre); and

Stuart Pierce property (Ahoskie; 10 acres valued at $20,000 per acre).

The original intent of the commissioners was to construct the new courthouse on county-owned property on Tryon Street across from the existing courthouse. They have hired an architect to draw up plans for that location.

However, since late spring, county officials and Winton Town Commissioners have been at odds over the new courthouse. At their Sept. 13 meeting, Winton Commissioners approved a street setback variance for the courthouse, but denied the county’s plan to provide for ample parking during the construction process.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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