CHS seeking exclusive lease on Haynes clock

Apr. 04, 2013 @ 05:16 AM

The Cliffside Historical Society (CHS) is seeking an exclusive lease on the Haynes Memorial Clock Tower in Cliffside.

Rutherford County Commissioners gave the go-ahead to County Attorney Richard Williams draft a lease agreement between the county — which owns the tower — and the society that includes several provisions.

One of those provisions gives CHS the exclusive rights to hold events or use the property to hold fundraisers for the society.

County Planning Director Danny Searcy said that the county should have no issues with drafting such a lease.

"We want to allow the Cliffside Historical Society some ownership of the clock, even though it will be owned by the county," Searcy said.

Under the initial terms, the CHS will lease the tower and the property for $1 per year for 20 years.

The county will continue to maintain the liability and damage insurance on the tower and the property.

However, Amy Drum, president of CHS, said that the society wants to handle landscaping of the grounds but allow the county to continue to mow the property.

"We just want to help and enhance the clock with landscape improvements and make sure the clock is working properly," Drum said.

The agreement will also allow CHS to place a "non-permanent" structure on the grounds, such as a bandstand.

In the event that CHS wants to place a permanent structure on the grounds, the society would have first consideration for the county to deed or sell the property to CHS.

The county will continue to pay the utilities at the site which, according to Searcy, amount to $200-$300 per year.

Commissioner Bo Richard suggested that the society eventually own the property outright.

"I would like to see them get this with the understanding that they take it over completely," Richard said. "I would like to see them own it because it belongs to the people of Cliffside."

According to Drum, CHS has spent close to $20,000 on the maintenance and renovation of the tower.

In November 2010, county commissioners agreed to provide access to the tower and allowed CHS to maintain the "mechanical workings" of the clock provided the society continued to raise funds for the effort. That agreement also provided maintenance of the tower and grounds be under the county's umbrella. The county has owned the tower and the property since purchasing from Cone Mills in 2004.

The CHS had proposed a similar lease in 2011 to what has been proposed recently.