The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 8, 2013

Houses bulldozed at L&S site

By Kim West

— A pair of dilapidated rental houses previously approved for removal by the Limestone County Commission were bulldozed Tuesday morning as site preparation continues at the county-owned L&S Shopping Center property.

Workers began the removal at the seven-acre site on North Jefferson Street at 8 a.m. Tuesday and finished around lunchtime, District 3 Commissioner Bill Latimer said.

“I was surprised at how little time it took,” said Latimer, who has been selected by the other commissioners to spearhead projects at the L&S site.

Workers also removed trees on the lot and will remove the remaining four or five trees once a line location has been completed.

“We’re just waiting on a line locate to identify whether there are utility lines in the ground,” Latimer said. “We don’t want to tear out any major pipelines, phone cables, gas lines, or anything like that.”

He said the next step would be to remove the old restaurant building once the expected rainy weather has passed through the city. Extended weather reports forecast dry weather by next Wednesday or Thursday.

In September the County Commission approved the removal of two of the three rental homes and the restaurant building on the L&S property, which was purchased by the county for $525,000 in May.

At the time Latimer told The News Courier that the two houses needed rewiring and plumbing work, and at least one of them had a sagging floor. He said it would be less expensive for the county to demolish the houses and restaurant, instead of remodeling them.

The commissioners are expected to approve constructing a prefabricated metal building to house the Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles program in the coming weeks.

Previous plans to remodel the shuttered Fred’s building have been scrapped after bids came back higher than the $300,000 estimated budget in December.

Underwood & Associates of Decatur had been authorized $4,500 by the commission in September to provide drawings to renovate the Fred’s building.

“We’ll probably get Underwood & Associated to be the architect and draw the plans,” he said. “It will be similar to what they did before.

“I think we’ll put our building on the back part of the property by the Fred’s building, which we’ll probably tear down later because it’s not cost-effective to remodel it.”

If the commission approves building a new structure, Latimer said he anticipates a spring start date for the project.

“We’ll probably start in the spring, if not sooner,” he said. “It depends how long it takes to draw plans and get it bid out, which shouldn’t take long because we’ve got a pretty much ready lot out in the back. We’ll just need to have a concrete slab (for the base of the building).”