Greene County to bid for armory

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 21, 2005

EUTAW-The Greene County Commission voted Thursday to throw their hat in the ring for the Eutaw National Guard Armory. The commission voted to make an offer of $30,000 on the building provided the money would be forthcoming after their Feb. meeting.

Commission Chairman Chip Beeker said now that the county has approved their budget for the next year they are in a situation where they know what they have and what they can do. He said he would like to see them work out a plan to purchase the armory in a timely manner.

“We have gotten over our budget and we know that the armory at some point is going to change hands,” Beeker said. “We know that the National Guard is going to leave here and if we are going to do something to get that building we need to do something.”

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County leaders have opened talks with leaders in the states capital and both agreed it would be a great asset for the county to be able to house all their emergency response teams in one area.

“We have been talking to them and they felt the county should have housing for the EMA-Homeland Security Director and anybody involved in emergency type situations,” Beeker said. “We would like to have them housed there and eventually if E-911 wants to move we could put them there too. If we had everything having to do with emergency callouts housed in one building I think it would be a good thing and the people on the state level thought so too.”

No set date has been established to bid on the armory, however, county officials have been informed they need to submit a bid sooner than later. Anybody can offer to buy the building and they do not have to offer the highest dollar figure. If Homeland Security and EMA state directors go on record as saying they want the buildings the opportunity for securing it rises. Neither entity is able to offer monetary support, but both said they would offer letters of support.

Beeker said they have offered their support, which comes with very strong backing.

“They said they will support us,” Beeker said. “The governor sits on the board, several businesspeople sit on the board and three generals. They look at the cause along with the money.”

Commissioner Edna Chambers said given the circumstances, she thought it would be a good opportunity for the county.

“I think we should go ahead and try to secure this building,” Chambers said. “We need a lot of office space and I think this would be a good thing if we could get it.”

Commissioner William Johnson said he would also like to see the county secure the building, but wanted to be sure the money was there.

“I am not opposed to it if we can spare it,” Johnson said. “We have gone on record with employees and said if there was additional money we would give it to them. I am not fighting this and I would like to see us get this if we could, we just need to look at what we can do to get this.”

Johnson said his only concern was how the county planned to submit their bid.

“I want us to get it,” Johnson said. “I want to make that clear. I just want to make sure we are not getting in so deep we can’t get back.”

In the end all commissioners agreed their best-case scenario would be to submit the $30,000 bid on the condition it would be paid after their first February meeting.

The proposal the county plans to submit with their bid will outline their need and request. The need will hinge on the fact that the new courthouse building is completely occupied and houses the commission office, probate judge, revenue commissioner, circuit clerk, and sheriff’s department, district and circuit judge. Juvenile services, veteran’s services and the Alabama State Drivers License office are also housed. Because Veteran’s Services and the Alabama State driver’s License Department are occupying two commissioners’ offices there is a great need for space.