PELL CITY – Officials announced this week the city was approved for an Alabama Historical Commission grant, which will help pay for repairs to the former Avondale Mills administration office building.
The city unsuccessfully applied for the same grant last year. The building is eligible for the grant because of its placement on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only structure left on the former Avondale Mills plant site, which the municipality now owns.
In August, the city applied for the grant, hoping to receive about $20,000 for work on the building, which has been left untouched since the municipality purchased the property in 2013, along with other Avondale Mills property in Pell City for $1 million.
City Manager Brian Muenger said the grant was approved for $8,500, which means the municipality would have to spend more money to repair the building. He said the city would have to contribute $14,000 to complete the work to the historic structure, which includes roofing, fascia and soffit replacement.
“It’s going to cost us another $8,500 if we don’t take it,” said Councilman Jay Jenkins.
The work would prevent the building from deteriorating, helping keep it intact until more funds become available for improvements. Muenger said it will be the first of next year before work on the structure begins, probably February.
In 2017, at no cost to the city, Christian & Associates Architects Inc. performed a historic preservation physical needs assessment of the building. According to the assessment, it would cost the city about $70,000 to repair and restore the historic structure.
Initial plans were to use the building as a museum to house Avondale Mills artifacts and to display the history of the more-than-century-old textile mill that was Pell City.
The city purchased the former Avondale Mills property in 2013 as part of a court settlement after municipal officials refused a request from the former owners, Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to rezone the property for commercial and residential use.