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Town moves ahead at gas station property

After purchasing the former Exxon gas station on Boone Street last month, town leaders are now moving forward on plans to inspect the underground tanks on the property.
The Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently agreed to allow town staff to work with former town mayor Gerald Sparks to close or remove three fuel tanks on the property. Sparks, now a Washington County commissioner, used to complete fuel tank inspections on a regular basis and remains certified to do so.
Sparks has offered to do the work for the town for free.
According to Town Administrator Bob Browning, the tanks need to be inspected and possibly removed based on environmental concerns. Currently, the tanks are considered “temporarily out of service,” which means the town must make payments to the State Underground Tank Program and continue to have them inspected by the state.
Browning is also working to create a plan to put out a request for proposals as far as potential future uses for the property. The town reportedly would lease the property to the individual with the best plan for the property, as determined by the BMA.
Several stipulations would come with a lease. Those include limiting access to the property to two points, creating a public sidewalk along the Boone Street side of the property, and creating a business that would be complimentary to the historical character of the town.
The plan would be to open up the potential for creativity and finding a good fit for the property while keeping control over what officials deem as important aspects of the property.
As it stands now, town leaders would accept proposals until March, with the BMA or a named committee then reviewing the proposals.