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County tentatively agrees to buy VFW building

Henderson County has tentatively agreed to buy the Hedrick-Rhodes VFW Post 5206 building at Five Points and potentially use it in a number of ways to serve veterans.

Commissioner Michael Edney, who had been working behind the scenes to push the purchase forward, said it was appropriate on Pearl Harbor Day to announce two actions to help veterans — a donation to support the American Legion's honor guard and the VFW purchase.

"We did our due diligence and came up with a multitude of things we can use that property for," Edney said. Ideas include moving the Veterans Service office and a military museum to the post property. The building has a dance floor with a capacity of 500 and seating for 300 that could be used for county events and for the public, he said. "It will be booked and filled to capacity before we know it," Edney said. "There's no better day than Pearl Harbor Day to step forward and honor the service of our veterans by giving back to them a little bit."

The county has assigned architects Clark-Nexsen to inspect the building and report on possible uses after a renovation.

"A final decision has not been made yet," Chairman Bill Lapsley said. The inspection will "make sure there's no hidden issues we should be concerned about." The report is expected back by January. If all is well, the purchase could close in February.

The VFW, which had had financial struggles in recent years, had been talking with the city of Hendersonville and with Henderson County in an effort to sell the post home. Lapsley noted that plans for the property are likely to involve the city, given the city's interest in acquiring property at Five Points for a new Fire Station 1. City officials had considered buying the property and clearing it for the fire station, VFW officials told the Lightning.