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September 19, 2014

Pell City moving forward with purchase of CenturyLink building

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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2014 9:36 pm | Updated: 9:45 pm, Mon Aug 11, 2014.

PELL CITY -- The City Council is moving forward with the purchase of the CenturyLink building, authorizing the mayor and city manager Monday to sign the necessary documents to buy the building for $1 million.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Danny Stewart, the director for the Pell City Public Library. “It’s been a long time coming.”

For more than a decade, library supporters have asked for a new municipal library, saying the current facility was too small for the fast-growing information center.

On Monday, the council unanimously approved buying the CenturyLink building, which will house the new library.

“The first floor alone is 20,000 square feet,” Stewart said, adding that the existing library is only about 5,500 square feet. “It is triple the space we have now.”

John Rea, the city’s attorney, said the city will put up $25,000 in earnest money and the final sale is pending a 30-day review.

“The city has 30 days to fully evaluate and inspect the building and property,” Rea said, although city officials do not expect any surprises.

Rea said the building totals 55,000 square feet. It would take about $5 million to replace the CenturyLink facility, which is about 25 years old.

The city almost bought the facility two years ago, but officials said the city could not afford it at the time. The price tag for the building then was $2 million.

“We couldn’t build a library" for the $1 million sale price, Mayor Joe Funderburg said.

Rea said he expects the city to close on the property in about 40 to 45 days.

City Manager Patrick Draper said he anticipates the City Council calling a special meeting to meet with architects within the next couple of weeks.

“Then, after we close, we can get moving,” he said.

The city has set aside some money for needed renovations to the facility, including money for a new roof and the installation of new hearing and air units.

The CenturyLink building is at the corner of Bruce Etheredge Drive and U.S. 231.

The telephone company will remain in part of the building in accordance with the agreement worked out between the city and phone company. The company will lease the space from the city.

In other matters Monday, the council:

O Approved an agreement with the Pell City Garden Club so the club can establish a garden trail inside Lakeside Park.

O Repealed an ordinance that restricted the number of terms or appointments a member of a city committee or board could serve.

O Approved applying for a $1.6 million grant to improve the roads inside the city’s industrial park.

O Appointed the city manager as the acting city clerk, and the city clerk as the city manager pro tem.

O Approved a resolution declaring properties at 3010 9th Avenue North, 220 Wolf Creek Road North and 222 3rd Street North as nuisances.

O Approved soliciting bids for attachments for equipment in the city’s street department.

O Approved buying insurance for the review period for the CenturyLink building.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com.

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