STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                         BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                    DECEMBER 16, 1999


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 1:00 p.m. in the Kaplan Auditorium of the Henderson County Public Library, Hendersonville, North Carolina.


Those present were:  Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon,, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Also present were: Finance Director J. Carey McLelland and Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson.


Absent were: Commissioner Don Ward, County Manager David E. Nicholson, and

Angela S. Beeker.



Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance, stating that the purpose of this meeting was a workshop on the rehabilitation project of the historic courthouse. Chairman Hawkins recognized several persons who were in attendance in the audience: City Council member Barbara Volk, Dutch Burdette, some of the League of Property Owners members,  Melody Heltman, Gabby Snyder, and Tim Crafton from Travel & Tourism and John Shiery from the Chamber of Commerce.


WORKSHOP - Historic Courthouse

Chairman Hawkins turned the meeting over to Ron Morgan, of Urban Ventures, who introduced himself as a visionary artist.  Mr. Morgan works in the planning as well as the financial part of projects such as what has been proposed for our historic courthouse, utilizing public/private partnerships. Many times tax credits can transfer back to the owner but it is a complicated process.


He briefly discussed some of their recent rehabilitation projects, in Morganton, Greenville, Charlotte, and Shelby.  He envisioned something similar for our downtown. He understood that we have a courthouse and possibly several other buildings downtown that could be part of a project. Mr. Morgan explained that to qualify for tax credits, it must be 1/3 public and 2/3 private with only 1/3 to no more than 35% in government use.  He explained that the project could be privately developed, turned back over to the community, and take advantage of the tax credits. You would have to be very creative. He wasn=t sure at this time what the right mix would be for our community.


He would not really work on the project until he knew he had an exclusive relationship with the county, he is not a consultant.  The County would be responsible for due diligence, then would advertise the project, then choose someone to work with, Mr. Morgan or someone else.  Then the project would truly begin.


Mr. Morgan stated that how he normally works, he would do a whole conceptual piece first.   He would suggest a task force of interested persons to get the community involved.


He explained that Urban Ventures is: Community Minded, Action Oriented, and utilizes a Win/Win Approach.   They find a problem and work to solve it. 


He showed his slide presentation, showing slides of some of the projects he had completed.  He has helped with over a dozen public/private partnerships in the Carolinas.


He spoke about the Ahistoric@ nature of the courthouse building.  He suggested stripping the annex away, leaving the courthouse and jail only.  He suggested including the Nuckolls building, saying the two buildings would be easier than just the courthouse alone, saying he would also be interested in other buildings to add to the project.  He also suggested a Apublic square@ in front of the courthouse.  He stated that he could easily turn the jail into condominiums and sell them with the hard part being the structural changes that would be needed.


Mr. Morgan then asked if this were the approach Henderson County wanted for the historic courthouse building?  If so, he would require that the Board/County would be working with him exclusively.


There was some discussion regarding RFPs and regulations about county advertising. 


How to start - County=s next step:

1.               Advertise to see if anyone else is interested in talking about the project.  He stated that it takes a big leap of faith on everyone=s part.


Mr. Morgan was particularly interested in residential use of the Knuckolls building, he wants an option on the building.  RFP the jail and the Knuckolls building.  He stressed that this is not a simple process but very complicated!


Mr. Morgon wished the Board a Merry Christmas.


Chairman Hawkins stated that Mr. Morgan had given the Board plenty of Afood for thought@.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.







Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board                        Grady Hawkins, Chairman