BY DAVID FISHER
GLEASON (May 16) — The Gleason City Board approved demolishing the old concession stand at Huggins Park, during Monday night’s regularly-scheduled meeting. The main reason for tearing down the concession stand is due to safety concerns.
Concession Stand Demolition
Mayor Charles Anderson stated the structure was built in 1966, and has deteriorated over the years. He noted the concrete floors and block walls have settled and are cracked, the restrooms are unusable, the doors won’t open and close properly, it’s not ADA-compliant, and it is beyond repair.
“I recommend tearing it down and hauling it away,” Mayor Anderson said. He noted some of the brickwork and metal framing around the doors might be salvageable, but the rest would have to be disposed of.
When burning the debris was mentioned, Fire Chief Mark Stafford explained that nothing manmade can be burned. It will have to be buried or hauled away.
City Attorney Beau Pemberton stated he doesn’t recommend burying the debris, because the fill area cannot pass compaction tests, and nothing could ever be built over it.
There was some discussion of having city employees tearing it down when part-time summer city employees arrive during the summer.
Pemberton recommended tearing the structure down as soon as possible and having it hauled off. He noted the job could be bid out to facilitate its rapid removal, if the city chose to do so. In the meantime, Pemberton suggested roping the concession stand off and displaying signs around it warning the public to stay clear of the building because it’s a safety hazard.
It will cost approximately $2,000 to $3,000 to have a large dumpster delivered to the site to be filled with construction debris and have it hauled away to a certified land fill. The board agreed it would be better than risking an injury.
After considering all options, Alderman Wade Cook made a motion to have the city tear it down and place it in a dumpster to be hauled off. The board approved the motion by unanimous vote.
Water and Wastewater Grant
Mayor Anderson stated the city has been offered a $1.6 million TDEC grant for extensive water and wastewater piping improvements. The pipes will go through the town to the lagoon. “We’re going through the city engineer, using the state protocol, to get the bid processed,” the mayor said. “I’m hoping to get closure for that sometime in June or July, so we can receive those funds.”
Building Code Enforcement
In the building code report, Pemberton said, “As far as the property at 500 North College Street, owned by Roger Ward, my title work is complete on that. The only thing I found as an encumbrance is last year’s county and city property taxes have not been paid. So, we have outstanding taxes that are a lien against the property.
“There are two heirs of Roger Ward – Stacy and Sean Ward, who both live in Illinois.” Pemberton stated he is working on obtaining contact information, so he can serve a process to contend and inform them the reasons the property is being condemned. “We hope to have that information to send out by the first of the week, so we can serve them and begin condemnation. So, either they’re going to fix it, or the city will have the ability to fix it, whichever way the board wants to proceed.
“It will explain to them that they must contact me within 10 days, upon receipt of the certified letter, with a plan to bring the property up to code to make it habitable, or if they intend to have it demolished.” Pemberton stated he will bring the issue to the board during the June meeting.
“I personally get a lot of complaints on that particular lot, asking when the owner or the city is going to do something about that eyesore,” Mayor Anderson said.
Audit Nearing Completion
The mayor stated he is well pleased with the city’s new auditor, who is making great progress. He noted the auditor provides weekly updates on his progress and is near closing on the budget. “We need this completed before we finalize our new budget for FY 2021-2022,” Mayor Anderson said. “The first reading will be at the regular June meeting, and sometime before June 30, the board will meet in special session to approve the second reading of the FY 2022-2023 budget.
“Next year we’ll be in much better shape, and we’ll have our budget completed in March or April, like everybody else.
Pemberton said the auditor “has to go back and clean up a decade of inaccurate books.”
According to the mayor, the city has repaired a couple of small sections of city sidewalks. This includes an area in front of the Corner Café, which was a trip hazard, due to broken concrete. He stated there were three other locations where sections of the sidewalks had been removed in order to install wastewater lines underneath the sidewalk. The concrete on these jobs has been poured.
“There are other locations that will be fixed a few at a time, as our budget allows,” the mayor added.
In the library report, Alderman Mike Bennett stated a $900 grant was received to purchase a new front desk for the Gleason Library. He noted there is a Summer Reading Program in June.
Mayor Anderson announced the city’s Fourth of July celebration will be held on Saturday, July 2. He mentioned the city is looking for a firm to shoot the fireworks at the event.
The next regular meeting of the Gleason Board of Mayor and Aldermen is Monday, June 20, beginning at 7 p.m.