2009-06-04 / Front Page

Bank Bulding Back

Grassroots Effort has City Reconsidering Bank Building

The City Council met in a special session last Friday afternoon with the main intent of the meeting to award a bid to a contractor for the new City Hall. However, during the Citizen Input portion of the meeting, Ronnie Bryan presented a petition with 300 signatures of registered voters to the Council asking that they reconsider buying the old State Bank building located downtown.

Bryan said, "I want the City Council to reconsider because it's a lot more feasible to buy the bank building. They [the building committee] are talking about it costing $150,000 just for the foundation of new City Hall. The bank building can be bought fully furnished and ready to move in with a minimal amount of alterations. An interior ramp would have to be installed to meet ADA specifications, but the restrooms already meet ADA requirements."

Bryan and others believe the bank building could be purchased for substantially less than the original estimate of $300,000 to build a new Ciy Hall.

The bank building was first considered by the Lexington City Council as a potential City Hall a year ago. However, the idea was completely removed from the realm of possibilities following an engineering report that showed some asbestos and lead based paint was found in the building. Even though a separate engineering report stated that the building was sound, fear of the potential cost to abate asbestos pushed the council into planning to build a new building.

Last week, Bryan provided the City Council with a copy of the original asbestos engineering report from Southern Global Safety Services, Inc. Out of 62 samples taken from the building, 14 were positive for asbestos and three samples were positive for lead based paint. According to the report, most lead based paint can be effectively managed via application of a secondary coat of paint that encapsulates the material. The asbestos removal would have to be performed by trained personnel who would be able to select the appropriate control strategy for dealing with asbestos exposure.

At a meeting held on April 9, 2008, the City Council tabled the notion of buying the bank building "forever." At that same meeting, Councilmember Tim Brown reported that it could cost the City approximately $10,000 to have the asbestos abated.

At Friday's meeting, the council voted to postpone making a decision on awarding a bid to a contractor for the new City Hall. They gave Bryan and other representatives of the petition ten working days to come up with a cost estimate on repairs/purchase of the old bank building.

Bryan and Lexington resident Nancy Perry met with Mayor Robert Willrich, Sr. Monday morning and requested that at least one City Council member be appointed to work with them.

Bryan said, "We'll have the report ready. We've talked to a contractor who can provide a bid in order to meet their deadline."

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