Residents to Morningstar: Put Up or Shut Up
FORT MILL, S.C. "They can't do it, they couldn't do it last year, they couldn't do it the year before, they're not going to be able to do it," says Fort Mill resident Robin Jordan-Stuebing. When she moved here in April, she thought the old PTL tower she sees from her front porch and the nearby castle would be demolished or rehabbed by the organization that has owns them, Morningstar Ministries. She says, "My three-year-old thinks it's a castle, I keep explaining to her, princesses don't live in a castle like that."
Morningstar has until March 5th to present its improvement proposal to York County leaders. The county then has until March 19th to accept the plan. Morningstar's been in mediation with York County for about a year. The worldwide Christian organization signed a five year agreement in 2009 to renovate the tower into a senior living facility but county leaders grew anxious when nothing seemed to be happening.
Fort Mill resident Eric Kinsinger says, "York County keeps giving them deadline after deadline. I don't know why." Kinsinger has been outspoken about his frustration with the dilapidated buildings and the impact he says they have on home values. He says, "I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't care, just do something, tear it down or fix it up but do something."
"We took the property over 6 or 7 years ago, all buildings were condemned, so we feel like the net effect on the property values, we've raised the property values as much as 20 or 30 percent," says Morningstar Ministries Vice President David Yarnes. He says rumors that the organization doesn't have the money to fix the tower, which will cost $30 million, aren't true.
Yarnes says Morningstar has already spent millions on renovations; the tower is the last item on the "to do" list. "We're going to be cleaning up the exterior, doing a lot of renovations this spring on the properties, it's really gonna be great," says Yarnes. As for the castle, Yarnes says, "Castle's still in great shape, our plan is to re-utilize it for the ministry."
Jordan-Stuebing will believe it when she sees it. She says, "It's time to put up or shut up, essentially."
York County manager Jim Baker tells FOX Charlotte this is the final deadline for Morningstar. This 30 day time frame is to allow the mediation process to finish publicly, according to Baker. If the county rejects Morningstar's plan, both sides can pursue legal action.
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