County looking to buy another white house

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By Damon Lawrence

Roane County is looking to purchase another white house near the new jail.

However, County Executive Ron Woody said don’t expect a repeat of the county’s last “white house” episode.

There are no plans to renovate this one for office space, he said.

“The intent would be to purchase the property so we could have additional parking,” he said.

The Roane County Commission meets on Monday at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Kingston.

A resolution on the agenda asks the commission to authorize Woody to enter into negotiations to purchase the house, at 301 Parks Ave.

If the resolution is approved and the deal goes through, Woody said the house will be torn down and the land will be converted into a parking lot.

The house is behind the jail and beside a piece of property the county already owns.

“We thought if we had that lot we’d level those both out and we’ll have more parking,” Woody said. “It would relieve some parking problems we have.”

The property has an appraised value of $61,200.

The owner has offered to sell it to the county for $55,000, according to the resolution.  

During his 2010 election campaign, Woody criticized then county executive Mike Farmer for his handling of a white house the county owns on Third Street.

The county purchased the property in 2007 for the new jail project.

It had an appraised value of $99,000, but the county paid $132,221 to buy it.    

The house served as a meeting place and living quarters for George Myers, the man who oversaw the jail project for the county.

Without any authorization from the county commission, Myers said Farmer gave him permission to fix up the house so it could be used as office space.

That ended up costing the county thousands of dollars.

“The more you look into that, it makes less and less sense every time,” Woody said during the campaign. “It’s a wonder somebody hasn’t called the DA to say, ‘Hey, you need to look into this.’”

Woody defeated Farmer in the election.