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County agrees to buy Mebane land from rescue squad for proposed future EMS base


Alamance County’s governing board has given the all-clear to a pair of real estate purchases – including one six-figure transaction that could lay the groundwork for a new EMS substation in Mebane to serve the county’s easternmost reaches.

The county’s board of commissioners approved the purchase of the substation’s prospective location on Monday along with a much larger tract in Saxapahaw that’s meant to provide buffering for Alamance County’s landfill.

The board’s members ultimately voted 4-to-0 in favor of both of these deals after their details were formally laid out by assistant county manager Brian Baker during a regularly-scheduled meeting that evening.

In the case of the substation’s proposed site, Baker asked the commissioners to shell out $300,000 for two lots which make up an area of 1.73 acres that the nonprofit Alamance County Rescue Squad owns on the periphery of Mebane’s municipal limits.

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Located along South Third Street, not far from Interstate I-85/40, this two-parcel site was originally acquired by the rescue squad in the spring of 2007 at a cost of $148,000. Although the current owner has never gone on to develop the property, it did catch the eye of county officials a few years ago when they first began casting about for a site to construct a new ambulance base that would serve the fast-growing area in and around the city of Mebane.

The commissioners ultimately signed off on Baker’s recommendation to purchase these lots despite some concerns about the proposed purchase price. As it stands, the proffered sum of $300,000 is nearly three times their current combined tax value, which the county’s tax office places at $108,261. Even so, Baker assured the commissioners that the suggested sale price is really quite reasonable for these well-situated pieces of real estate.

“This is valuable property,” he added. “We did an appraisal in 2019, and this is the number we got.”

Assistant county manager Brian Baker

Baker went on to note that the rescue squad’s property is ample enough to accommodate an EMS base with up to three ambulance bays. He nevertheless conceded that the county wouldn’t be actually obliged to build this facility after some of the commissioners began fretting about the substation’s potential cost.

According to Alamance County’s deputy manager Sherry Hook, the county had put the cost of developing this ambulance base at about $3.2 million when it originally crunched the numbers about five years ago. Hook told The Alamance News that the facility could run twice as much if the county were to proceed with the project today. In either case, county manager Heidi York informed the commissioners that they’d probably have to look beyond the county’s own piggy bank if they eventually decide to construct this facility.

“It’s a big undertaking,” she said before Monday’s unanimous vote. “It would require installment financing to build a new EMS station.”

In addition to the $300,000 they forked over for the substation’s proposed site, the commissioners also agreed to spend another $240,000 to acquire about 38 acres of land near Alamance County’s landfill in Saxapahaw. Baker noted that swath of now-vacant real estate, which belongs to a limited liability corporation called Hilltop Holdings, would just be the latest of several additions to the grounds of this sprawling facility off of Austin Quarter Road.

“We are consistently looking to add buffer to the landfill,” he stressed, “both to avoid conflict with the neighbors and to give the landfill added flexibility in the future.”

According to county property records, Hilltop Holdings originally acquired this parcel for $194,000 in February of 2022. The county’s tax office currently values the land at $166,891.

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