County examines building purchase

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 13, 2005

As renovations to the Marengo County courthouse take shape the problem of where to locate county workers has been prevalent. An answer may soon be on the way.

Tuesday the Marengo County Commission voted to look into the purchase of a building behind the detention center, which was expected to be large enough to house everyone.

Commission chairman Freddie Armstead said the commission had been looking for some time in a limited market.

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“We have talked about it for some time and what we are trying to do is purchase a building so we can move our people out to get them in a place where they can continue to do the county business,” Armstead said. “In Linden, unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of buildings to buy or to rent, but we did come across a building behind the jail and we can purchase that building at a fair price.”

Armstead said the building had proven to be the best choice by far and suggested the county make a move.

“The situation is there are no other buildings to buy,” Armstead said. “I would like for the county to go ahead and purchase that building.”

One of the key attractions for the structure was the possibilities it presented after the renovations. Armstead said there were plenty of uses for the building once the courthouse facelift was complete.

“I know there are some questions about what we would do when the renovations are over,” Armstead said. “We can rent that building out and have some other uses for it. Also, we can move some of the other people that we were going to move back into this building. I think it is only fair that we put our people back up in a building where they can continue to do their business.”

John Crawford Jr. agreed saying the building may actually become a moneymaker for the county.

“After all this is over we could bring in some revenue and this could pay for itself,” Crawford said.

The purchase of this building would take all the employees out of the courthouse and move them over during the renovations. Armstead said even after the workers were moved into the building there would be plenty of space.

The price for the building is $150,000 for now, but negotiations will probably continue.

The benefits and need for the building were many. Armstead said work on the courthouse has been moving faster than expected prompting a plan to be put in place faster than was once thought.

“I have talked to the general contractor and he said he thinks we’re going to be out of that annex building a lot sooner than we think we are,” Armstead said. “They are already doing the gutting and stuff and he said we should start making preparations.”

Commissioner Ken Tucker said he had looked at the possibilities and felt the situation with this particular building was a good one.

“The location would be nice,” Tucker said. “Not many commissions would have the opportunity to purchase a building right next to them. There are a lot of opportunities too. I have been through it and have been impressed with the space and the layout, the location and the potential benefits down there.”

The commission voted to look further into the purchase of the building. The commission also discussed bind issues which will be discussed further in Thursday’s Demopolis Times.