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City makes payment on public safety building

A deal between the city of Demopolis and West Alabama Health Services has been reached for the city to purchase an expansive building that will become the new home of the public safety department.

According to Mayor Austin Caldwell, $10,000 of earnest money from the city has been deposited, and the complete sale of the building on Washington Street will be complete at the end of the month.

Though the city of Demopolis has been the recipient of what seems like an onslaught of new buildings over the past year, the West Alabama Health Services building came with a price tag of $320,000.

That money, which will come from the city’s reserve fund, is not all Demopolis will need to spend to prepare the building for occupations.

All told, the city will spend nearly $600,000 for the new building, but the money will serve an important purpose.

The current police department office is located on N. Walnut Avenue and cramps officers into small rooms. Headquarters for the fire department are located in the old church building next to city hall and will be turned into a new city council chamber in the coming year.

Initially, the city considered putting the fire department in the Rosenbush building, also on N. Walnut Avenue.

Though no plans are final, the city is considering making the Rosenbush building a community-oriented facility. That building also would contain a museum of Jewish memorabilia collected by Bert Rosenbush Jr., who donated his old furniture store to the city.

Another building that has been given to the city &045;&045; the Gary Malone building owned by Robertson Bank &045;&045; may officially become part of city property this month, according to Caldwell.

That building will be used as the office for the horticulture department.

In other action at the city council meeting:

Braswell Braswell was elected 3-2 by council members as a new member of the Demopolis City School Board. She and Laurel Foster were nominated to replace Kathy Leverett, who will spend her last day as Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Board director today. Council members Mike Baker, Woody Collins and Ronnie O’Neal voted for Braswell. Willard Williams and Thomas Moore voted for Foster.

Councilman Moore requested that the City Council hold a work session to discuss reapportionment for city voting districts.

For the past few months, Moore has collected U.S. Census data that outlines the change in racial makeup of the city. If there is a significant change, council could change the voting lines.

The work session is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 6, at 8 a.m. at City Hall.

The scheduled Jan. 1 meeting of the Demopolis City Council has been changed for the following week on Jan. 8.