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Funds OK'd for mall purchase

The county is looking to appropriate $2.5 million of ARP money for the purchase of Three Star Mall and $400,000 for the completion of the new Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center. 

At the county ARP Committee meeting Thursday night, commissioners met to discuss the appropriation of money for the purchase of Three Star Mall. There will have to be two separate purchases in order to appropriately use the $9.1 million health department grant, so the county will have to purchase the rest of the mall separately. 

“I want to use $2.5 million out of the ARP funds for the purchase of Three Star Mall and $400,000 to finish the construction on the Animal Control center,” said County Executive Terry Bell.

“It does include some money in there to get it surveyed and do title searches. I may actually have to hire another lawyer because when we get into this, we are going to have to make sure we get these leases taken care of and these businesses can continue on like they have,” said Bell. 

“Will we be redoing all the parking lot?” asked Commissioner Blaine Wilcher.

“Yes. I have talked with Levie Glen and the figures he gave me will be around $600,000,” said Bell. 

The county will only be purchasing the mall from JC Penney down to Roses. Kroger, Sally’s and Dollar Tree will remain under the same ownership and that portion of the parking lot will be the current mall owner's responsibility to maintain. 

“His parking lots will stay like they are?” asked Wilcher.

“It would be just like your house. If he wants to fix them. I would hope that when we start fixing the other side there will be pressure for him to fix his side,” said Bell. 

Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin made sure that approving the funds for animal control did not mean he approved of the current plans. Bell said the plans for the new building will be revisited at a later date and approving the money does not mean the plans are approved. 

Bell said he had someone briefly look around the mall and said he did not see anything structurally wrong. 

“I did send our codes man out there, and he didn’t crawl around everywhere, but he said structurally he sees nothing that would be a problem with the building. I think everyone in Warren County knows there are roof leaks out there. That is a given,” said Bell. 

“The roof is a weak spot,” said Bouldin. 

“And the parking lot,” said Bell.

Bell said they would look into getting more public restrooms at the mall. The committee approved the motion to use $2.9 million of ARP for the mall purchase and animal control.