The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 25, 2013

Jail, courthouse on county agenda

By Rebecca Croomes

— While not much is being done at present, the Limestone County Commission is working to put irons in the fire for projects in and around Athens this year.

Chairman Stanley Menefee said the commission is scheduled to meet with architects and planners to organize work to be done on the county jail, the Limestone County Courthouse and the old L&S site on Jefferson Street.

The first move is to finish renovations at the Limestone County Courthouse on the Square in Athens. Miscalculations in the placement of a new elevator have delayed interior work.

“We need to do something,” Menefee said. “We should have been into the project three to four months ago.”

Work is ongoing with the replacement of windows on the Iconic structure and the removal of certain trees from its landscape.

Another major point of discussion is the commission’s work with buildings on the old L&S shopping center land. With the purchase of the property and its contents, Menefee said the plan is to build a new office for the Department of Corrections. He said the commission awaits permission from the city to remove a building, and recent wet weather has also slowed progress.

The businesses still located within the old Greenhaw building will have a replacement facility built for them, Menefee said.

Six months ago, the insurance agency for the County Commission expressed concern about the capacity of the Limestone County Jail on Elm Street. To prevent problems on the inside, the suggestion was made to add single lockdown cells to both the men and women’s sections, so certain inmates could be moved out of the general population if the situation arose. It was decided to add 24-26 single units to the jail, and the commission plans to meet soon with the consulting firm hired for the project.