March 29, 2001

Scotland County Rec-Plex Purchases MicroEnergy Building To Serve As Local Recreational Center

Typically foreclosure sales involve a small number of parties and don't make big news, but the March 21 sale on the steps of the Scotland County Court-house could affect the entire community in more ways than one.

The MicroEnergy building on Highway 136 in Memphis was sold at the public foreclosure sale. The Scotland County Rec-Plex, a local not-for-profit organization, purchased the building to serve as the home for a proposed community recreational facility to serve Scotland County and the surrounding area.

The move leaves the future of Converter Concepts, Inc. up in the air. The electrical power source manufacturer employs more than 30 workers at the Memphis plant. The company had been paying a monthly lease to MicroEnergy for use of the building.

Rec-Plex board member Tom Deberry stated the group has hired an attorney to begin negotiations with the company to allow Converter Concepts, Inc., to remain in the building for a period of months to insure the company has every opportunity to find a new home in Memphis.

"The board desires to work with Converter Concepts and local officials to keep the company and its jobs here in the Memphis area," Deberry said.

Lee Webster of the Converter Concept Quincy office indicated the company's management from the Wisconsin office would be visiting Memphis next week to determine the future of the facility.

City and economic development officials have indicated they will meet with the company at this time to offer any assistance possible in locating a new site for the company.

The Rec-Plex will officially take possession of the facility March 30. The purchase was for 1.34 acres that includes the existing 120'x80' building.

Deberry stated the fitness center group plans to use the existing building to house a majority of the center's facilities including a weight room, walking track, locker rooms and changing areas as well as a community meeting room.

He stated the property is large enough to allow the future construction of additional buildings to expand the rec-reational opportunities provided by the center.

"The way the building sets on the property there is adequate existing parking with adequate space at the rear of the building to add on a gymnasium," he said.

According to Deberry the Rec-Plex board felt the group would have spent as much as $400,000 to $500,000 to build a similar building to house the facilities planned to be placed in the existing building.

"We will have to do some work in the rest rooms to bring them up to ADA compliance and make other cosmetic changes including the addition of some partitions, but outside of that we felt the building was a perfect fit for our plans," Deberry said.

The Rec-Plex had previously considered sites near the hospital and the school but both sites offered obstacles, which made the purchase of the existing site seem to be the logical move.

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