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Town OKs study for Junker’s Mill property

Junker’s Mill outdoor theater may become a thing of the past.

EnergyUnited, which owns the building and stage where concerts and festivals are held, is looking to sell the property. The utility is giving the Town of Mocksville the right to purchase the property before it goes on the market. It is also waiting six months for the town to make a decision.

Town board members last week approved paying half  – $27,000 – of the cost for a study by the UNC School of Government. The Davie Economic Development Commission, which has an office adjacent to the property, will pay the other half.

Town Manager Matt Settlemyer said the study would give the town an idea of the best use for the property, whether it be public, private, or a combination of the two.

Board member Amy Vaughn-Jones questioned whether it was a wise move, but later vote for the expenditure. She asked if the town could get it’s money back if the use didn’t involve the town. That provision would make her feel more comfortable with the expenditure, she said, especially with the town going over budget on several projects last year and it’s fund balance – or available reserves – shrinking.

“I’m very worried,” she said. “What does that look like for this board?”

Board Brian Williams said the study makes sense, and any development, including private, would add to the town’s tax base, one it doesn’t have now.
“I think it’s money well spent,” he said.

Vaughn-Jones asked how many streets in the town need paving, again questioning spending the money for future development rather than on current needs.

Settlemyer said that the property would be sold, and if the town wants to be a “player” in the sale, the study is needed.

The decision to spend the money for the study passed unanimously.