The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 18, 2013

Plans for archives improvements move ahead

Efforts to protect Limestone County’s history took a step forward Monday following a public hearing at the County Commission meeting.

The hearing, which featured no citizen input or comments, is just one of the required steps to secure a grant from the ALDOT Transportation Alternatives Program. The Limestone County Archives is seeking $311,610 in funding to make numerous improvements to the archives building, located at 102 W. Washington St.

The total cost of the project is $389,512, though a local match of 20 percent, or $77,902, would be put toward the renovations. If the funds are received, they will be used to make a number of improvements to the 108-year-old building, which was once the old Athens train depot.

At least $250,000 would be used for building repairs and renovations, including the replacement of exterior siding, interior and exterior painting and the installation of a ramp to make the building handicapped accessible.

About $75,000 would be used toward the cost and installation of a fire sprinkler dry system, which does not flood the overhead pipes unless a fire is detected. Nearly $12,000 would be allocated for impact/tap fees to Athens Utilities and the installation of a fire alarm system.

The current budget for maintenance and renovation of the building is only $3,200, Davis said last year. The cost to replace the building, should fire destroy it, is $368,000, not including the contents, she said.

This is the second time the county has tried to obtain a grant for a sprinkler and alarm system for the archives. Commissioners applied for a $65,000 grant last fall from the Alabama Historical Commission but did not receive a grant.

She said the county likely won’t know until September if the grant funds will be received.

Elsewhere, the commission approved a matching-funds agreement with ALDOT to repave Mooresville Road from Thach Road to Sweet Springs Road. The total cost of the project is expected to be $791,585.75, with the county’s portion being $158,317.15.

Also, Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee said more patrons appear to be using the Farmers Market, and added the commission may want to consider adding a third day of operations.

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