What’s up at the old Exxon station?
By Kristen Swing
The Town of Jonesborough bought the property in October 2011 for $85,000. Town leaders voted to buy the former Exxon gas station because of its prime location, citing ownership as the ability to control what ends up there.
At the time, officials said they were in no hurry to make a decision as to the future of the property. Now, more than a year later, work to clean up the site has begun, with the canopy over the gas pumps coming down last week. Next, underground fuel tanks will be filled in, through a carefully supervised plan approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, according to Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe.
“We have plans this spring to continue the sidewalk from where it ends now at Boone and Main on through the Exxon property and tying it into existing sidewalks at (the intersection of) Boone and Sabin (Drive),” Wolfe said. “We intend on landscaping the site once the sidewalk is completed to enhance the pedestrian area there and provide some screening for the commercial garage being operated behind the building.”
As to what will eventually go there, that remains to be seen.
“We are beginning to pursue some different ideas that have been presented to us regarding the future use of the building itself,” Wolfe said, declining to comment further on those ideas. “Nothing has been settled on at this point.
“Everyone’s ultimate goal is to make the site as aesthetically pleasing as we possibly can while putting the building to its best use given its prime location.”
Prior to purchasing the former gas station, town leaders discussed possible uses for the property that included a park, a place for tour buses to gather, a weekday location for the farmers market and a model railroad exhibit.
At the time of the purchase, Town Administrator Bob Browning said the town could ultimately sell the property – at a higher price – to someone with a proposal suited for the space. Leaders could also decide to lease the area to the right candidate or keep the property in the town’s own possession for development, he said.