Gibson mayor assures there is progress with burned out store

By: By Katelin Gandee - Staff reporter

GIBSON — After burning down more than a decade ago the Gibson Town Council is finally making some progress on dealing with the remains of a store on Main Street.

Town Clerk Angela Hunsucker said the structure on Main Street went to ashes about 15 years ago.

The issue of the burned building has been something the council has been discussing for some time. They’ve also attempted to get the county involved since the building is not only an eyesore but also a hazard. It was the town’s hope the county could help get the remaining part of the building torn down.

Mayor Ronnie Hudson told town commissioners and the public at Thursday’s meeting that, in 2015, the property was sold to someone in Charlotte in a foreclosure sale.

A letter was sent to the owner requesting she does something with the property because it’s an abandoned structure that’s a nuisance to the town.

“We’ve been fighting this burned down store for 12 years now,” Hudson said. “We’re in the process of sending letters to get her to clean it up — so it might look like no progress but there is progress now that we’ve got an owner who we can go to.”

Several of the commissioners questioned if there was a way to get the building removed sooner, such as through the health department since the building is a health hazard, or going about dealing with it through a nuisance ordinance.

Town attorney Jerry Bruner said the town has done what they should have at the time and is handling it the way he would have suggested.

“If you go the nuisance route, that obviously that gets into your expense,” Bruner said. “Typically the ordinance is you’ve got a procedure you go through for a nuisance — if there’s something that is a danger to the public you can actually file an action for it, but that’s an expense the town would have to bear.

“Odds are, getting it out of any action to sell it is not very good,” he added. “At least you have someone who owns it (s0) now you’ve got a prospect of someone doing something.”

Bruner said he would look into the foreclosure documents and what the options were, but said the council should just wait and see what happens with the letters.

In other business Thursday:

— Commissioner Adam Liles questioned if there was anything the council could do about several houses with overgrown grass and yards looking like messes. Hunsucker said they’ve sent out letters and also spoke with the owners and renters of several of the properties, requesting they keep up with the yards or there will be fines.

— The commissioners approved having Ken Anderson out of Rockingham to do the yearly audit of the town. The audit will look at the financials and prepare financial statements. Anderson did the audit for the town last year as well.

Katelin Gandee can be reached at 910-506-3171 or [email protected]

By Katelin Gandee

Staff reporter