Money was approved to do an architectural study on the former Russell Main Office building and to complete a deal that will make the familiar checkerboard water tower and the property it sits on belong to the city at Monday’s meeting of the Alexander City City Council.
The city now owns the former Russell Main Office. Over the years, a number of issues have developed with the structure. A portion of the building had a tenant, but currently it is not occupied. Mayor Jim Nabors said the study was needed to see what if any use the building may now have.
“This is to see what is need and if or what portion is usable,” Nabors said. “If it is salvageable, we need an idea of what it may cost to rectify any issues.”
The council voted 4-0 to approve a $7,500 expenditure to Stacy Norman Architects to study “the condition of, and the rehabilitation options for the building.” Buffy Colvin, Scott Hardy, Eric Brown and Tim Funderburk all voted for the move. Tommy Spraggins and Bobby Tapley were not present at the meeting.
The red and white checkerboard water tower sits on .57 acres of property along U.S. Highway 280. The property and tower is now the property of Fruit of the Loom. The city has been offered an opportunity to purchase the property for $10,000.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the city,” Funderburk said. “It’s basically like they are donating it to us.”
The council also approved two moves associated with railway crossings in the downtown area. They approved $5,400 to be added to the budget to administer improvement activities at several rail crossings.
The money, to be paid to Norfolk Southern, is contingent on the closure of the Bibb Street rail crossing adjacent to Calhoun Street They council also set a public hearing on the closure of that crossing for May 15.
The council also heard from Jeffrey Benson in an effort to get a business license for Benson’s Community Center at 2775 North Central Avenue. Benson said that he wants to open and rent the facility for wedding receptions, family reunions and birthday parties. Alexander City Police Chief Jay Turner cited several issues and in talking with other residents in that area they did not want a club there.
The council voted to table any action, to give Benson a chance to address the concerns.
“I think we need Benson’s Community Center or a place like that for events like Mr. Benson is talking about,” Colvin said. “Tabling this will give him time to figure it out and come up with a plan that will work for everyone.”
The council also voted unanimously to:
• Approve a resolution making Tommy Spraggins the Voting Delegate, for the ALMC Annual Business Session
• Approve a resolution declaring a police K-9 Retiree named Jake surplus property and allowing former handler Michael Ponder to keep the dog and allow Jake to live out his retirement with him.
• Amend Resolution 17-67 Spring Hill Lift Station due to a clerical error.
• Amend Resolution Resolution 17-68 Swimming Pool due to a clerical error.
• Amend a Resolution 17-60A due to a clerical error
• Approve a request for a $5,000 donation to pay for fireworks and to allow Marshall Street Church to again hold the Alexander City Celebrates Freedom event.
• Approve a permit and $10,000 in funding for the 27th Annual Alexander City Jazz Fest.