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Blue Building fate to be discussed
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Two committees will meet Monday night to discuss the future of the Blue Building.
Both meetings will consider renovating verses the cost to build a new police station.
Up first at 6 p.m. will be Safety Committee members Aldermen Mike Neal, chairman, Rick Barnes and Ken Smith. On the agenda is, “To consider engaging AEI to prepare a cost analysis to renovate the first floor of the Blue Building vs. construction of a new building on the same site.”
Second, at 6:15 p.m., will be Building and Grounds Committee members Aldermen Ben Newman, chairman, Jimmy Bonner and Smith. On the agenda is, “To consider requesting a cost analysis on Blue Building rehab vs. construction of new Police Department building.”
Only the chairman can call a meeting. Neal says he called his meeting because he wants to take a close look at cost.
“I’m wanting to make sure everything we are hearing about the cost to renovate is accurate,” said Neal. “I have to think that a roof, walls and a foundation have to be worth something. I think this is a way to see if the building is worth salvaging or not and show openly whether it is or isn’t. This information will show for certain which way is financially feasible and if we have to tear it down, we can show the public this is why.”
Neal has, on several occasions, mentioned the option of demolishing the Blue Building. He says people have gotten the wrong impression that demolition is his goal when it is not.
“A lot of people think that it’s my goal to tear the building down, but that’s never been my goal,” Neal said. “I want it to have a purpose. That’s my goal. If we are going to keep it, it needs to have a purpose. When I came on this board, I had hoped we would put the police department back in the Blue Building. If we aren’t going to, I don’t have any problem with tearing it down. It will just sit there and rot down if we don’t do something with it.”
Newman could not be reached for comment as to why he called his meeting.
Alderman Smith, who in prior meetings seems to favor building the police department behind the Blue Building, says he will not attend either meeting but it’s not because he disagrees with the subject matter.
“For several months, I have been committed to the annual FFA banquet,” said Smith. “It’s certainly nothing personal and if I didn’t have this FFA banquet that I had already committed to, I would be there. I just can’t miss the banquet.”
The committees will meet in the conference room located on the third floor of City Hall.