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Cramped offices will be replaced

The Demopolis City Council has finally closed on the old West Alabama Transportation building and now they plan to turn it into the Public Safety Department. During the last meeting, the city council made plans to go ahead and start taking bids from architecture companies.

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.

“As soon as the purchased is closed, we’re going to begin remodeling the building,” Caldwell said. “We don’t have all the figures yet, but it looks like we’ll have to spend somewhere around $250,000 for that.”

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

“Our plans are to put the police and fire department, along with municipal court in there,” Caldwell said.

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.

Mayor Austin Caldwell and Councilmember Thomas Moore both said that the process is at a snails pace right now until the bids come in.

“We are in the process of accepting bids from architects and once we choose one then I think the building will be ready in about six months,” Mayor Caldwell said.

Moore agrees on the timeframe issue. He said that after the plans are finalized, the building should be ready to go in late November.

“We will have to just move some walls around and the overall project should be done by Thanksgiving,” Moore said.

The Chief of the Demopolis Fire Department George Davenport said that the process is at a standstill until the architect is chosen for the project.