The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

December 4, 2012

Divided County Commission moves forward on L&S project

— After a lengthy discussion, the Limestone County Commission voted 3-1 in favor of moving forward with the renovation of the shuttered Fred’s building during its meeting Monday at the Clinton Street annex.

The building on North Jefferson Street is part of the seven-acre L&S Shopping Center property, which the commission purchased for $525,000.

District 3 Commissioner Bill Latimer introduced a motion to allow the letting of bids for renovating the old Fred’s building, and District 1 Commissioner Gary Daly seconded the motion.

“We thought it was a very good deal — where else can you buy seven acres in the city for that low?” Latimer said. “Why not use it? We don’t have to develop all of it right now and down the road, we may need more room.”

District 2 Commissioner Steve “Ned” Turner voted yes with Latimer and Daly, who both voted for the initial L&S purchase. Ben Harrison of District 3 cast the lone dissenting vote.

Back and forth

Harrison said during his campaign he spoke to more than 400 people, and only one person favored the L&S purchase. He said after further discussion, that person changed his mind. Menefee said he hasn’t heard any positive feedback regarding the purchase.

Daly and Latimer said they have not heard as much opposition to the purchase as Menefee and Harrison.

“I’ve had four people tell me it wasn’t a good idea, and three of them are sitting in this room,” Daly said in reference to people attending the meeting, which included three men and a woman who appeared irate.

The commission has proposed moving Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles from Crutcher Shopping Center to L&S once the Fred’s building has been refurbished.

The Crutcher lease expired earlier this year, and the county is paying $2,500 a month until Community Corrections is moved to another site. The county declined to renew the lease.

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