By Michael Howell
Members of the Lone Rock community interested in building a community center got the go ahead from the County Commissioners to pursue the possibility of leasing county parkland for the project. The initiative was hatched by a group of local senior citizens that has met regularly at the school and become an active player in community affairs. The group has the support of the Lone Rock Park Board, has produced drawings of what it would like to build, and is looking at leasing just enough land to hold the building at Ambrose Park.
The Commissioners expressed a willingness to entertain the idea, but noted that the group would have to get an appraisal of the fair market rental value of the property before it could be leased. The county is constrained by law to get an appraisal and is not allowed to rent or lease property for any less than 70% of the fair market value. Another glitch is that state law also restricts the county from making a lease agreement for longer than 10 years.
Wayne Stanford, longtime resident and former school board member, said that there was already water and a septic approval for the site. He said that the restriction on the commission to limit the lease agreement to 10 years could put a damper on fundraising for the project.
“People may not be willing to donate if they feel like possession of the building site could be revoked,” Stanford said. Plans are to fund the construction entirely by donations and grants with no tax money involved.
Lone Rock School Board Chairman Dan Metully expressed full support of the project. He said getting an appraisal was not a problem.
“This is a great thing,” said Metully. “If the county commissioners approve this lease the rest will follow.”