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Complex may become funeral home
Board directs Summerlin to negotiate, execute contract

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

The old South Martinsville School Complex may become a funeral home.

On Tuesday, the Henry County Board of Supervisors directed County Administrator Benny Summerlin to negotiate and execute a contract for the sale of the complex with Thomas Hensley and Betty Wright for a price of $100,100.90, Deputy County Administrator Tim Hall said in an interview.

Hall said Hensley and Wright submitted a proposal to the county for that amount, and they plan to use the property for a funeral home.

Hensley and Wright's proposal was the highest of three bids submitted for the property, said Hall and County Attorney George Lyle.

Lyle said in an interview that Hensley and Wright "seem to have a good plan to use it as a business."�

Debra Buchanan, chairman of the board of supervisors and Horsepasture District representative, said in an interview, "Any time we can take an existing building and turn it into a business that will employ people and pay taxes and be a viable business is a win-win for the community."�

Wright and Hensley, who are sister and brother, said in telephone interviews Tuesday night it will be a family-owned, Christian-based funeral home that will be run by Wright's son, Tony Wright. Tony Wright has a bachelor's degree in mortuary science from Cincinnati School of Mortuary Science and did an apprenticeship at Collins Funeral Home, his mother said.

Betty Wright and Tony Wright live in the Stanleytown area, and Hensley lives in Spencer, Hensley said.

Betty Wright said they plan to name the business Wright Funeral Services and Crematory.

"Hopefully it will grow and have several employees," Betty Wright said, adding that she plans to help with secretarial work.

Hensley and Betty Wright couldn't estimate an opening date. Some renovation will have to be done, they said.

The Henry County School Board closed the South Martinsville complex and Irisburg Elementary School at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, and the properties' ownerships reverted to Henry County.

At its meeting March 22, the board of supervisors established guidelines for purchasing the facilities, including minimum starting bids of $75,000 for the South Martinsville complex and $100,000 for the former Irisburg school. Bid proposals were due by May 2.

No bids were submitted for the former Irisburg school, and that property will be marketed though the local Realtors association, county officials said.

Also Tuesday, the supervisors approved applications by the county to rezone both the South Martinsville complex and former Irisburg school to enhance their marketability and make them more appropriately zoned for future uses, according to a board document.

The board held public hearings on those rezoning applications Tuesday night, but no one from the public spoke.

The supervisors approved rezoning the South Martinsville complex, about 6.5 acres at 1425 Greensboro Road in the Ridgeway District, from Government and Special Use District G-S to Commercial District B-1.

They approved rezoning the former Irisburg School, about 12 acres at 6871 Irisburg Road in the Iriswood District, from Government and Special Use District G-S and Agricultural District to Suburban Residential District S-R.

In other business, the supervisors approved a rezoning application for property at 1155 Trenthill Drive in the Blackberry District. Bertha M. Merriman requested the rezoning of about 21 acres from Suburban Residential District S-R to Agricultural District A-1. She intends to place a double-wide manufactured home on the property and raise agricultural animals, according to a board document.

The supervisors denied a rezoning application by Danny Melvin Towler, who requested that about 1.35 acres at 3983 Daniels Creek Road in the Reed Creek District be rezoned from Mixed Residential District M-R to Rural Residential District R-R.

The property was rezoned in 2007 from S-R to M-R to allow a double-wide manufactured home to be placed there on a permanent foundation. The home never was placed there, and the property has since been sold. "The new owner wants to downzone the property to allow for the placement of a single-wide manufactured home," a board document stated.

The Henry County Planning Commission recommended May 11 that the rezoning request be denied to protect surrounding property values, among other reasons.

The supervisors voted on Merriman's and Towler's rezoning applications after holding public hearings at which no one from the public spoke.

In other business, the supervisors:

"¢ Held a public hearing, where no one from the public spoke, on the proposed redistricting of some Henry County Magisterial Districts, and then approved the redistricting.

"¢ Adopted the 2011-2017 Six-Year Secondary Road Plan and 2011-2012 Construction Budget.

"¢ Reappointed Marshall Stowe and Bernice Scales and appointed Carol Meyer to four -year terms on the Blue Ridge Regional Library Board. The terms will end June 30, 2015.

"¢ Reappointed Brad Kinkema, Lucy Moore and Darrell Jones to the Community Policy and Management Team. Each is to serve a two-year term ending June 30, 2013.

"¢ Reappointed Barry Jarrett to a two-year term ending June 30, 2013, on the Ninth District Development Financing board.

"¢ Made two appointments to the Patrick Henry Community College Board: Pam Foley to a four-year term ending June 20, 2015, and Dean Randall to an unexpired term ending June 30, 2014.

"¢ Reappointed Thurman Echols to a two-year term ending June 30, 2013, on the Southside Community Action Board.

"¢ Appointed Richard Stanfield to a three-year term ending June 30, 2014, on the West Piedmont Business Development Center Board.

"¢ Appointed Cecil Stone to an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2011, on the West Piedmont Planning District Commission Technical Advisory Committee.

"¢ Reappointed Steve Eanes to a three-year term expiring June 30, 2014, on the Piedmont Regional Community Services Board.


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