JONESVILLE — The heritage craft school being proposed for Jonesville is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Jonesville Town Council members voted unanimously Monday night to lease the old Town Hall at 136 W. Main St. for $1 a year to the Jonesville Historical Society. Town Manager Scott Buffkin told board members Monday night that he and Dr. Judy Wolfe, who is heading up efforts to start the school, worked with Town Attorney Neil Finger in developing the lease.
“We have what I feel is a pretty good agreement,” Buffkin said. “I feel comfortable the agreement we have drafted will be protection for the town.”
Buffkin said in the agenda packet prepared for council members that Wolfe “feels that a lease term of one year may be appropriate so they can evaluate the building to determine its stability and uses.”
Wolfe, who heads up the Jonesville Historical Society, said she believes the lease provides protection for the heritage craft school’s steering committee. “We are in partnership with the town,” she said.
Buffkin, in a later interview, agreed. “I think the fact that we’re willing to lease the town facility for just a nominal amount,” he said, “demonstrates that the town is willing and able to cooperate with the Historical Society to bring about what we hope will be a good thing for our community.”
As part of the agreement, the town will maintain the use of the old Town Hall designated as the police department for the duration of the lease as well as the third floor areas containing police department evidence files and two bins within the shed in the fenced area behind the building.
Also, in the event of an unforeseen emergency regarding space, the lease states, the heritage craft school operators agree to cooperate with the town in sharing any available space. Council Chairman Wayne Moore made the motion to approve the lease, saying, “I would like to see us move forward with this.”
Vice Chairperson Anita Darnell seconded the motion.
Mayor Gene Pardue said it would be nice to see the building being used for a heritage craft school since it has only been used for storage since the Jonesville Town Hall moved to its present location on N.C. 67 in April of 2008.
Wolfe said she plans to meet with the Jonesville Tourism Development Authority next Tuesday at 10 a.m. to ask for $14,000 for a new roof. That was the bid she said town officials selected from several received for the project.
“Then our goal is to be able to sign the lease as soon as the roof is repaired,” she said.
Wolfe said she appreciates the support of the Jonesville Town Council. “I’m hoping that the tourism board will be just as supportive in assisting us in the development of what will become a very unique attraction for Jonesville and the Yadkin Valley,” she said. “I think it’s critical that this be perceived as an investment in the heritage and history not only of our town but also the Yadkin Valley.”
Darnell, who heads up the Jonesville TDA, said she thinks the heritage craft school will be great for the Jonesville area. “People in the town need to know about their heritage,” she said.
Darnell’s job as manager of the Best Western Yadkin Valley Inn and Suites ensures her a spot on the TDA. Vanessa Caudle, manager of the Comfort Inn in Jonesville, and Debra Clark, manager of the Hampton Inn, are also on the authority along with Pardue, Buffkin, Jonesville resident Pat Benton, Yadkinville resident David Moxley and Glenda Gilliam, supervisor at the town’s welcome center.
The school will feature exhibits, demonstrations and several kinds of classes. And at some point in time in the future, Wolfe said certain exhibits in the Jonesville History Center will be moved to the heritage/craft school.
Once the school is open, craftspeople such as woodworker Bill Woell, who will be the resident artisan at the school, will be available to visit the schools to talk about and demonstrate their work. Wolfe said schools also will be able to bring students on field trips to the heritage craft school.
The conference room in the heritage craft school also will be available to staff of the Jonesville Public Library, located next door, as it does not have a meeting room.
Kathy Chaffin can be reached at 336-258-4058.