Former Dr Pepper plant leading contender as site for new city police station

Published 6:21 pm Monday, July 30, 2018

Negotiations for a site for a new police station in Washington continue, but with a possible resolution in sight by the end of this year.

For at least 10 years, the city has been looking for a site for the new facility. After considering several sites over the years, the leading site is the former Dr Pepper plant on the southeast corner of North Bridge and West Third streets, according to City Manager Bobby Roberson.

“We’ve actually hired an appraisal firm out of Greenville. They are assessing the current property. Hopefully, they are going to bring in the appraisal. The timeline that they have would be at the next City Council meeting,” said Roberson. “We’ll go into closed session and talk about purchase price and those sort of things. We have hired an appraiser and they are in the process of taking a look at it.”

Other than negotiating a purchase prices, the city is pursing other items regarding the property.

“Before we buy anything, we’re look at environmental (assessments) phase one and phase two. The property we’ve looked at has had an environmental phase one. We’re working through the state office to get that information, which is public information. We’re working through the agencies to pull those documents on it,” Roberson said.

As for buying a site for the new police station by the end of this year, “That is the timeline for us,” Roberson said.

Beaufort County tax maps show that the 3.5-acre site is owned by Washington Center LLC. Those maps list the property owner’s mailing address as 30 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 3380, in Sausalito, California. The N.C. Department of Secretary of State’s website lists Jack Ulrichs, of 123 Hillside Drive, Washington, as one of the LLC’s manager, and William J. Ziegler, of 30 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 3380, in Sausalito, California, as the other manager. The website indicates Washington Center LLC was “administratively dissolved” May 23, 2103, for failure to submit annual reports.

County tax records show the property’s appraised value is $400,595. The property sold for $625,000 in May 2005, according to the records.

The proposed site, bounded by U.S. Highway 17 business and West Second, West Third and Van Norden streets, once housed a Dr Pepper bottling plant and manufactured gas plant, which left coal-tar deposits — polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene and toluene — at the site. In 2007, Progress Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources worked together on a project to remove those deposits from the site.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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