MPCA urged to continue negotiations with BARC
MILLBORO, VA – Last month the Millboro Preservation and Cultural Association, or MPCA, voted 7 to 4 to deny an offer from BARC Electric to purchase part of the land at the old Millboro school. BARC, which is located across the street from the old school, wanted the land for a parking lot.
At the MPCA monthly meeting on Tuesday night, twelve people spoke during public comment, all encouraging the MPCA to continue to negotiate with BARC on the purchase of the land. BARC is planning to create a solar facility, so it needs more space for expansion and BARC is in negotiations with Rockbridge County about a location there. On Tuesday night, speakers were concerned that BARC may move its headquarters out of Millboro, if it’s not given an opportunity to acquire more space. And if BARC leaves, speakers expressed concern about the impact that would have on Millboro and the whole county.
Jackie Plecker is the founder of the MPCA. She led the effort back in 2009 to begin restoration of the old school into a community center.
“I’m willing for our group to get together with the BARC and see if we can’t work out something on the parking area,” says Plecker. “But I don’t want to ruin the beauty of the school, because I think we’ve worked too hard. The building looks about like it did when we got it, but nobody has asked what has been done to this, how much did this cost, how much did that cost. So I just want people to know that we’re not against the BARC, we’re just willing to work if we can.”
Millboro District Supervisor Cliff Gilchrest spoke during public comment, saying that since the spring of 2012 the county has been involved talking with BARC behind the scenes. He said the county is willing to act as the broker for the MPCA, if it would be willing to work with BARC. If the land is sold to BARC, Gilchrest said the county would give the sale proceeds back to the MPCA for its renovation work.
MPCA board member Shirley McDaniel suggested getting volunteer help and building the parking lot that’s already planned in the property’s feasibility study and then letting BARC use it.
Mary Barnes, a former teacher at the old Millboro school, felt Tuesday night’s meeting was productive.
“I think the most important thing is that all the parties involved are together, meaning they are face to face and they really get to talk,” says Barnes. “There was so much goodwill put out. And there was so much misunderstanding and where there’s misunderstanding there can never be people coming together. And I hope that the board truly is open, doesn’t feel so attacked that they can’t be open, to talking with BARC and I would hope that BARC would be really open also.”
Also on Tuesday night, the MPCA board considered ten new applications for membership. The board early met before the regular meeting to review the applications and recommended voting on them Tuesday night. Board member Stephanie Forbes questioned why there were all of the sudden ten people who wanted to join, when the MPCA has been trying to get more members since it started in 2009. On a vote of six to three, the board approved waiting to vote on the new applications until its April meeting.