Council decides on former city hall

Jeremy Nash

Lenoir City Council agreed Monday to sell the old city hall property on Broadway Street.

City officials initially considered locating a fire hall in the old building, but it was determined renovations would be too expensive. Council voted 5-0 for the sale, with Councilman Eddie Simpson making the motion and Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr. providing the second.

“We would have to make so many renovations to the building and obviously we would build downtown a fire hall, but we would have to make so many renovations to the building to make it what they need,” City Administrator Amber Scott said. “When they weighed out all of the options, that’s sort of what they went with.”

Mayor Tony Aikens said he, Harry Wampler and Simpson determined transforming the old city hall into a fire hall would take “major construction.”
“We need at least three bays,” Aikens said. “You have the living quarters there. And again, it’s an older building that has — it’ll be a good building to sell but it’s just not fitted for a fire hall. ... I would like to try to see us — the fire department does need a new fire hall downtown and I would like to try to see us in the coming years, short few years, to look at building a fire hall up above between the new playground, or the new park, and the post office. I think that would be better suited and put us closer to downtown and closer to the centralized area.”
Hopes are to have to have the property appraised sometime this week, he said.
“Obviously, we’ve got to get it appraised and I want to take it back before the budget committee,” Aikens said. “I don’t want to do anything they don’t want me to do even though they basically have given me the authority to do it. I still want to run it past them. ... I want to run it past Mr. Simpson and Mr. (Mike) Henline and possibly even the rest of the city council, depending on the time frame. I would like to get the ball rolling on it pretty quick and they did too when I brought it up before them in the budget committee.”
Aikens said the property could go on the market in December.
“Of course we’ll have to advertise it and run it in the paper and take single bids and then we’ll have to scrutinize them and see if it’s something that we feel like it’s worth,” he said. “I mean I’ve got an idea what I think it’s worth, but obviously the appraisal may come in sort of differently, and we want to be fair because it’s the taxpayers’ money we’re dealing with.”
In other news, Lenoir City Council:
Approved a resolution authorizing approval of a loan with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the event center.
Adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation bonds by Lenoir City in an amount not to exceed $7,010,000 to finance the acquisition, construction and/or equipping of the new event center and related costs. City council also granted the issuance, sale and payment of the $7 million bonds and authorized the levy of taxes to pay the bonds.
Approved an amendment with the Tennessee Department of Transportation for phase two of the downtown streetscapes project.
Granted employment agreements for Police Chief Don White and City Administrator Amber Scott.
Passed the low bid of $6,300 from Foothills Sealcoating contingent upon the street and sanitation crew street superintendent reviewing some of the company’s work. The other bid from Curtis Paving came in at $12,500.
Awarded a bid to Cook’s Pest Control for pest control service at $410 per month.
Passed a bid from Home Works TN at $22,720 for decorative fencing around the handicap-accessible playground off Broadway Street.