The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 29, 2012

Menefee eyes new building for county programs

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— The Limestone County Commission could vote at its next meeting to consider using an undisclosed property between Madison and Jefferson streets for Community Corrections, Pardons and Paroles, instead of the L&S Shopping Center.

In May the commission purchased the L&S property on North Jefferson Street for $525,000 as a possible home for Community Corrections and other county programs.

Community Corrections is located currently in the Crutcher Shopping Center on South Jefferson Street.

“I ask that we consider this because we’re going to spend a good deal on the renovation of the L&S property,” said Menefee during Wednesday’s commission work session. “And we could use this property to put EMA equipment under shed.”

Menefee estimates it would cost between $200,000 and $250,000 in renovation costs for Community Corrections to move to L&S, which includes the former L&S grocery store that closed in Sept. 2011, the shuttered Fred’s building, a closed restaurant, a barber and beauty shop and three rental properties.

“I recommend going to L&S and taking down the Fred’s building, and down the road decide what to do with that seven acres of land,” he said. “I would rather use that for commercial property — I’m not saying the county should go into commercial business — but mainly the people we’re going to move would be better located in this area (between Madison and Jefferson streets).

“It would eliminate some rental numbers, and it’s in the best interest of the community. … It’s an excellent location for commercial properties that could bring in sales tax for the county.”

The commission includes two commissioners who voted for the L&S purchase — Bill Latimer and Gary Daly — and two new commissioners — Ben Harrison and Steve “Ned” Turner — who took office in November.

Latimer said bid openings for the renovations to the Fred’s building would be Dec. 11. He said the initial bid is projected at $300,000.

The next commission meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3, at the Clinton Street annex.