BURGAW -- An 83-year-old building is the center of controversy in Pender County. The old jail has been owned by the Downtown Burgaw Association for eight years, but that may not be the case much longer. Town officials are giving the association six months to renovate the building to where it's habitable. If it doesn't get done, the Downtown Burgaw Association will lose the building. The association was deeded the property in 1999. The president of the association says it requested ownership of the building to keep it from being torn down since county commissioners had deemed it a liability. The town gave the downtown association $20,000 to help with the renovations. That money paid for a new roof and exterior paint. The problem now is paying to repair the rest of the historic building. Downtown Burgaw Association President Vernon Harrell said, "Well we weren't particularly happy with it. I mean, I can understand wanting to fix the jail, we all do. But at the same time we are being forced to turning this into a rent-paying situation." If the downtown business association can't finish the project in the next six months, the town of Burgaw will take over ownership of the property. Harrell says he would like to partner with the town to finish the renovations, but that town officials have no interest in a partnership.
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