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CENTER OF ATTENTION

As plans and designs for a new senior center in Jonesborough plow ahead, it appears the town has reached an agreement with the owners of three pieces of property needed to put the facility at its proposed location on East Main Street.
A home at 309 E. Main St., owned by Kenneth and Patti Saylor, and two vacant tracts owned by Robert and Judith Hash, will be purchased by the town for a total of approximately $200,000.
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, the town will pay the Saylors $145,000 for their home, which was appraised at $130,000. The contract amount is 11.5 percent above the appraisal amount, which Browning said is a good deal for the town.
At the March 19 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Town Attorney Jim Wheeler announced a deal had been made that afternoon to buy the Hash properties for a total of $53,000. The negotiated price is $5,000 more than the appraised value of the land, he noted.
The Hashes agreed to sell the land on the condition that a room inside the new senior center is named for their relatives, Grace and Lyle Haws. The Haws are both former mayors of Jonesborough, with Grace Haws serving as the first-ever female mayor of the town.
In two separate motions, the BMA unanimously approved using a capital outlay note to purchase the properties. The town then plans to include the land purchases into a Rural Development loan for the building.
The town is seeking financial assistance from Washington County for the construction of the senior center, which is estimated to cost $2.3 million. Town leaders are asking the county to contribute $500,000 to the project, which would put the project at $2.8 million.
With the possibility of county assistance, the proposed square footage for the building has already grown. Instead of allotting just 5,000 square feet for the lower level of the two-story facility, the town now plans to create a full bottom floor. The lower level will have close to 13,500 square feet, of which approximately 7,200 square feet will be finished initially. The main level of the proposed facility will be 15,650 square feet.
According to statistics provided by the town, 82 percent of current senior center members live outside of Jonesborough town limits in Washington County.