Puryear, Tenn.—An alumnus of the old Puryear School has started a campaign to save the crumbling structure and turn it into an indoor farmers’ market and peddlers’ mall.
Hannah Niece, who now lives in Mayfield, has started a Gofundme page to collect money for her project. Niece, whose maiden name is Garner, was disheartened by the news reports from the January Henry County Commission meeting that reported the county was requesting the Chancery Court set aside the delinquent tax sale on the property because it constitutes an economic and environmental hardship.
County Attorney Rob Whitfield has reported that no interested party bid the minimum necessary to purchase the property during a public tax sale, which was $4,542. He also noted it would cost the county some $250,000 to demolish, due to the presence of asbestos in the building.
The property is owned by the owners of the Puryear nursing home, Towne Square Center, which are delinquent on tax payments.
On her Gofundme page, Niece notes that the old building has many issues, including the asbestos, and scavengers have looted electrical wires and more from the building. The school was closed in 2004 when it was consolidated with the county schools.
The delinquent tax payment is some $4,000.
Niece notes that because the cinder block and brick walls are still solid, she envisioned turning the building into an indoor market. She notes its proximity to both Paris and Murray and said such a market could create jobs and opportunities for local people.
She also said because the property includes a large lot, it could be used for a small fruit orchard and possibly bee boxes and berry vines, which also could generate another market.
Niece said, “Now, obviously this is a big project, which is why there is the goal set for this project. I realize there is the real chance that this project may never materialize, but I just can’t sit back.”
Her Gofundme page is at: https://www.gofundme.com/reviving-the-old-puryear-school