A long time ago one of Anniston’s gateway buildings near the train station, the now-deteriorating structure was in the recent past supposed to remain standing as the city constructed a justice center on the block.
But now, its fate is uncertain.
Last week, the Anniston Historical Preservation Commission granted the city a certificate of appropriateness that allowed demolition of some nearby buildings; that demolition has been completed.
Joan McKinney, chairwoman of the commission, said she called all the members to collect their votes. The issue had already been discussed at the meeting Tuesday of last week, but the members needed time to look at the application before making their votes, she said.
“Much of that demolition had already occurred,” McKinney said.
“That was moot.”
But the application for the certificate for the construction of the justice center is still pending, she added. The commission will meet Friday to discuss that application, as well as the fate of the Anniston City Land Company building.
The 19th-century structure was cited by a city building inspector as a nuisance after the wall fell. The inspector recommended demolition and gave the city 45 days to respond to the citation.
So far, the city has not submitted any plans for the building to the commission.
The issue has been broached to the City Council, but the members postponed making a decision on what to do about the building.
Wednesday, City Planner Toby Bennington said he is waiting for word from the city on what to do. He has been meeting with city staff and some council members to gather input on what to do about the building, though.
“We’ve discussed some options,” Bennington said. “We have not come up with anything definitive.”
One option might be to shore up the building, Bennington said.
“That is a topic that’s on the table for discussion,” he said.
But the plans for the justice center are still moving forward, he said.
The next step for the justice center will be the meeting on Friday, Bennington said.
“The certificate of appropriateness for the design will be presented,” Bennington said. “That design shows the elevation, the material, things of that nature.”
If the commission approves the design on Friday, the city should be on track to advertise for bids in March as scheduled. That would put the groundbreaking in April, Bennington said.
McKinney said she knows how important the project is for the city but also hopes to preserve the city’s heritage for the residents.
“All we’d like to do is come together and do something meaningful,” McKinney said. “I just don’t want us to end up with pictures in the Alabama room.”