Estimates on replacing the dilapidated Blue Building roof range from $121,000 to $181,000.
According to information presented by city administrator Bill Brock to members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, “ballpark estimates” were obtained from Keith Bouldin of Tri State Development.
Bouldin conducted emergency repairs to the roof to fix a 10-foot by 10-foot area where the rafters had fallen.
“Y’all have been asking me about the Blue Building, the old City Hall,” said Brock. “I don’t have good news for you. We do have all the emergency repairs done. I do not have that cost with me yet. I will get that to you as soon as I receive it.”
The condition of the roof is not good, said Brock, as he outlined the issues and provided a financial cure.
“I did speak with Mr. Bouldin about what his solution would be to cure that problem. To cure that problem is removing the shingles, replacing the plywood, adding bracing in the truss system to get it back up. Some of the trusses are not in the best of shape. You can go as cheap as re-shingling the roof that’s up there for $121,000. You can go top quality, like the two churches that are within a block of us, and you are talking $181,000. These are ballpark figures.”
The work has stabilized the roof temporarily.
“What’s been done to date will probably buy you six months to a year’s time,” said Brock. “After that, you will start getting some issues back again."
Continued Brock, "The shingles that are up there are not on right. A lot of them are gone. They’ve been repaired. They’ve been replaced. The roof is worn out. It’s gone. It’s time to do something with it or make a decision on which direction you want to go, as a board, with that structure.”
Recently the city established a Tourism Development Board to promote tourism. Consideration will be given to deeding the property over to that board because a local individual has shown interest in purchasing the Blue Building to encourage tourism development.
Mayor Jimmy Haley says that board is the city’s best option.
“Tourism Development Board is our best option right now,” said Haley. “As long as it’s stabilized for six months to a year, we can continue to move forward with those bylaws and establishing that committee. It will have the same credentials as the IDB with transfer of property and finding suitable tenants for it to put it back on the tax records.”
Alderman Everett Brock voiced hesitation. He said establishing the board, establishing bylaws, selecting members, getting everything in place for a deed transfer and finding a suitable buyer will take more time than the roof has.
“The issue we’ve got right now is we are starting the Tourism Board from scratch,” said Brock. “It will take time to get everything in place. Short term that may be a solution. Long term I don’t think it is. Hopefully, someone will buy it.”
The estimates were information only. No decision was made.