The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

December 17, 2012

County Commission rejects Fred's renovation bids

By Kim West

— The Limestone County Commission voted unanimously during its regular meeting Monday to reject all three bids to renovate the shuttered Fred’s building because they all exceeded the project budget.

Boyett Construction of Decatur, Pettus Mechanical Services in Rogersville and Athens firm Premier Structures tendered bids that exceeded the original $300,000 estimate to renovate the building for Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles.

Boyett Construction’s bid of $330,873 was the lowest bid submitted, while Pettus Mechanical’s bid of $367,700 was the highest. Each bid included estimates for roof modification, metal roof replacement, paving and landscaping improvements and sewage ejection.

Roof replacement was slated by county officials to cost $115,000, and both Boyett ($81,534) and Pettus ($47,400) proposed replacement estimates that were within budget for that portion of the project.

Community Corrections is currently housed in the Crutcher Shopping Center on South Jefferson Street at a cost of $2,500 per month. The commission has been trying to secure a new location for Community Corrections since declining to renew the lease this past summer.

Moving the program to a refurbished building on the L&S property, buying the current building at Crutcher, purchasing the Jimmy Marshall property at the corner of Jefferson and Marion streets or constructing a new facility on the L&S site are among the considered options.

“The commission is probably going to look at using a new building,” said Chairman Stanley Menefee. “It’s going to cost more to renovate that 16-thousand-square-foot (Fred’s) building than it would to build a new building.”

The Fred’s building is part of the former L&S Shopping Center property, which includes a former restaurant and barbershop and three houses. The seven-acre property was purchased in May for $525,000.

“A new building would probably be on the north side or northwest corner (of the property,” Menefee said. “I’d like to see it facing the street and hope for some other business to go in (at L&S). The Dollar (General) store is already there, and there are other businesses that look nice in that area, too.”

The commission has already approved the removal of the restaurant building and two houses, and the eradication of the third house — currently occupied by a tenant — is expected in the coming months, according to Menefee.

In other business, the commission:

• Authorized a two-acre lot for L&C Estates subdivision on the north side of Harold Street between Phyllis Street and Oakdale Road in District 2;

• Accepted a $28,000 Recreational Trails Program state grant for the Richard Martin Trail;

• Tabled a motion to transfer mechanic Jimmy Gatlin to District 3;

• Hired Jamie King as a sheriff’s deputy and Matthew Williamson as District 3 equipment operator II, pending drug and alcohol screenings;

• Approved merit increases for deputies John McCormick, Gil Moore, Johnny Morell Jr. and William Rogers; sheriff’s Capt. Fred Sloss III; corrections officers Joseph Evans and Robert Johnson; communications officer David Hargrove; archivist Rebekah Davis; and herbicide operator Kevin Hammond;

• Increased rates for sewer-accessible campsites at Cowford Campground to $19 daily, $120.75 weekly and $336 weekly from $18 daily, $110 weekly and $315 weekly;

• Renewed annual permits for 2013 for weekly bingo nights at the Disabled American Veterans chapter 51, Vietnam American Veterans chapter 511 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4765; and

• Appropriated $2,000 for the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association’s Athens Car Show and Cruise Ins at the Limestone County Courthouse;

The commission will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, for a work session at the Washington Street annex. The next regular meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7, at the Clinton Street annex.