Town sells National Guard Armory

Has safety concerns about old Center Street Theatre

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The Town of Mount Olive no longer owns the more than 50-year-old National Guard Armory.

It is now officially sold to the Mt. Olive Pickle Company.

Town or pickle company authorities have not released information at this point as to what the pickle plant’s plans are for the old facility, and the more than three acres it sits on.

The monies accepted by the town will be set aside in a special fund for construction of a new fire department at some point in the future.

The action came during the monthly meeting of Mount Olive Town Commissioners.

The $550,000 had been offered last month, but had to remain open for 10 days for a possible upset bid.

It was an unanimous move by the board.

Now, the town faces the challenge of finding sources of revenue for what is anticipated as a $5 to $6 million new fire station to meet the town’s needs for the next 50 or more years.

In other board action, town attorney Carroll Turner was instructed to ask owners of the old Center Street Theatre to make moves toward securing the building from debris that has fallen into the streets — both Center and James.

Concerns are safety, and the owners of the old building last month were asked to make improvements.

Attorney Turner said the owners did move toward improvements and boarded up windows.

He said he needed more specific directions about what improvements are needed.

The issue will be back before the board at its March meeting.

Officials have been considering declaring the old facility a public nuisance and initiating condemnation proceedings.

Town Manager Charles Brown has told this newspaper already the demolition of the building would cost around $80,000, an expense the town may not want to take on at this time.

Turner did tell the board members the owners have been cooperative, and now have some specific directives as to what has to be done to assure public safety.

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