The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 26, 2012

County scraps Fred’s project, considers new building at L&S

— Plans to renovate the shuttered Fred’s building in the former L&S Shopping Center on North Jefferson Street have been scrapped following a unanimous decision by the Limestone County Commission.

The commission received bids from three companies to refurbish the Fred’s building, but all three bids exceeded the $300,000 estimated budget. Steve Turner, Ben Harrison, Bill Latimer and Gary Daly voted 4-0 to reject the bids during the regular meeting Dec. 17.

“I thought we could do it a lot cheaper than that,” Latimer said. “I had no idea how much things had gone up. It does seem like when people bid on county projects, (the bids) tend to be a little higher than an individual bid – that’s just my concept.”

Finding a home

The next step is to find a permanent home for the county’s Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles program, which is currently paying $2,500 per month to lease 16,000 square feet of office space in the Crutcher Shopping Center owned by Jackie Greenhaw.

The county declined to renew the lease, which expired June 30. Greenhaw, who wanted the county to sign a four-year lease, has offered to sell the current home of Community Corrections on South Jefferson Street to the county for $600,000, according to Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee.

Menefee has said that Community Corrections only needs 5,000 square feet to operate. The Fred’s building, which needs a roof replacement, has an estimated 8,500 square feet.

Butler building

The commission is currently deciding whether to construct a Butler building, a prefabricated steel building designed for large commercial and municipal accounts, on the northwest or northeast outskirts of the L&S site.

I think we’re going to build a metal building,” Latimer said. “I expect that’s what we’re going to do because it seems to be the consensus of the commissioners, and it seems like it would be the best solution to our space problem.”

Complicating matters is the possibility of asbestos in the shingles and other portions of the Fred’s building. Asbestos removal involves strict regulations from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

“There’s concern about asbestos shingles and how to dispose of them,” Harrison said. “They might have to go in a Subtitle D Landfill, which is a lined landfill. The shingles and some of the vinyl could possibly have asbestos in them.

“You can probably build a new building for what the cost of the renovation would be, plus the cost of the roof. I would think we can build something that we needed, and hopefully not with a flat roof.”

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