Hope Mills parish house to be demolished despite preservation attempt

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WTVD) -- The public outcry to prevent the demolition of the Hope Mills parish house came up short as town leaders continue with their efforts to destroy the building that has been with the town for over a century.

The town board held a special meeting at noon on Thursday to hear alternatives other than tearing the building down.

Jackie Warner, mayor of Hope Mills said the estimated cost of the building was somewhere around $312,000 to $320,000. Warner argues that she didn't want to put the burden of upkeep on the town's taxpayers.

Warner said maintaining the historical district is important, but the town's priority is finding a new public safety building and Heritage Park.

As a last-ditch effort, one citizen asked Preservation North Carolina of Durham to help save it and give an appraisal of the building.

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"When I walked in I expected to see more extensive damage than what I saw. (I've) definitely seen buildings in much worse condition brought back and put into use," Cathleen Turner with Preservation North Carolina.

Rod Maclean, a member of the Hope Mills Historical Society, said he submitted an offer to the board to buy the building for $24,500. The board voted to neither entertain his proposal nor lease the building.

"It's unfortunate. This town has got a very poor record of maintaining its history. Hopefully has highlighted it," said Maclean.

The building is set to be demolished next Monday and it should take a week for it to be torn down; residents in opposition said they will be there.
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