Time is running out for one local county to make a tough sale. A signed agreement between Elizabethton and Carter County requires temporary jail pods be removed in less than two months.
For seven years the double-wide pods were once home to Carter County inmates. Though empty now, some say they have overstayed their welcome.
"The point of bringing them in was to be a temporary situation, and the planning commission as part of approving the new jail required that the pods be removed," said Jon Hartman, Elizabethton's planning director.
The deadline is September 15. That's less than two months to clear the site completely.
We found out once these pods are removed the site could be turned into a parking lot, but city planners told us, the need for parking is not the only issue," said Hartman.
"The old jail that's currently there, we need to be able to access that for our fire department," explained Hartman. "Having those pods there makes it very difficult for the fire department to get in."
Some citizens just want something else to look at. "I think they're an eyesore myself. It's not very pleasing to look at that when you take your kids to the park," said Serena Miller, a Carter County resident.
We learned the removal process has already started. Tuesday we found auctioneers on site preparing to put the pods on the virtual auction block.
But county commissioner L.C. Tester said he's worried there won't be any bids. "We've offered to sell them to different agencies for one dollar and we've not had anybody to take us up on the offer," Tester told News 5.
He said that's because the price to move them can run between $20,000 and $100,000. "The successful bidder, they will have to be part of it. They will have to remove them," said Tester.
Otherwise, it's the county that could be stuck with the cost of sticking to an agreement.
We learned the pods will be on auction websites the week of July 30. The county originally bought the pods for just under $100,000.
If they don't sell, Tester said the county will have to find a use for them off-site and pay for the removal.