By Andy Pettigrew, Post & Voice Editor
Pender County Commissioners Monday approved the purchase of land south of Burgaw for the site of a proposed county jail and law enforcement center.
The property, known as the McLean property, is approximately 33 acres located on U.S. 117 just south of the intersection with South Walker Street. The sale price is $20,000 per acre.
The board also authorized Moseley Architects to proceed with due diligence and engineering activities regarding the construction of the facility.
The property has an 80-foot access off Hwy. 117 and also will have access at the rear of the property from Worth Beverage Drive, adjacent to the county’s shell building. There is a 10-acre tract fronting Hwy. 117 that will be retained by the McLean family.
“This property will tie us in to the county’s shell building directly from Hwy. 117,” said county manager Mickey Duvall.
Commissioner Jimmy Tate asked Duvall about wetlands on the property. Duvall indicated some wetlandwere located on the property, but the exact amount was unknown until a survey was conducted.
“There will be some wetlands and we still have to go through the due diligence process. We have done core borings and found there would be enough space for a law enforcement center,” Duvall said. “If we see this property is too wet to build on, we don’t buy it.”
Commissioner Fred McCoy said the county does not have a choice with regard to building a new jail, with the escalating cost of housing prisoners from the currently overcrowded jail outside the county. Duvall said the cost of out-of-county housing would exceed $600,000 this year.