JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – At the February Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the board formally approved a resolution authorizing a $32,750,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Program.
“We came out well in that the interest rate that we were looking at is actually lower than what we thought, so that’s been a positive,” Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest told News Channel 11.
Vest said the board was considering an interest rate of 3 percent as the most the leadership body could accept, but final negotiations resulted in the board finalizing a rate of 2.75 percent with the USDA’s Rural Development.
In November 2019, the mayors of the Town of Jonesborough and Washington County met to finalize and sign the contract for the building of a new K-8 school. Jonesborough Town Administrator Bob Browning has acted as the middle man throughout the negotiation process while planning the school project, according to Vest.
Here is a look at the resolution approved by the board Monday:
“Bob Browning has done a good job of getting feedback from the school system on what they’d like to see in a school, so in that sense, we’re far ahead, but getting the contracts signed by the architects and working with Rural Development’s been a little bit more of a process but that’s coming to the end here shortly as well,” said Vest.
Vest told News Channel 11 that the best-case scenario would be to get the Design Committee to approve a thorough plan to take before the school board “hopefully by the tail-end of this year.”
Vest estimated that the project will be completed by the end of 2021, but could take up to as long as well into 2022.
Also mentioned during the Monday meeting was the retirement of Browning from his role as town administrator.
“Once we got this school project approved, we’ve kind of twisted his arm to not go into retirement and he’s excited about not doing that, but he will go into a different role than he currently holds, but his responsibility, mostly, will be the completion of the school project and park project and the Jackson Theater,” Vest explained.
At the Jonesborough BMA January meeting, a Design Committee was appointed to further the K-8 school project. Browning will serve on the committee for the K-8 school project on behalft of the Town of Jonesborough and, according to Vest, will continue to serve the town during the school project.
Vest told News Channel 11 that once the architects have completed signing contracts with the Town of Jonesborough, the Design Committee will most likely meet later this month.