(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Commissioners signed a grant Tuesday morning for the demolition of the courthouse annex on I Street.
The Community Development Block Grant of $259,000 will pay for the demolition and clearance of the annex, first diagnosed with toxic mold in December 2003.
The vacant building has been an albatross of sorts for nearly a decade. In November 2003, several county employees working within the building informed the commissioners they could no longer tolerate conditions in the dank, deteriorating site. The individuals complained of chronic illness and fatigue attributed to mold and damp conditions in the annex. A decision was made to close the building. But finding the funds to raze the structure was not easy.
But representative from Southern Indiana Development Commission found the grant and the county applied for the funds.
The environmental review will be completed by November 30 and then bids will be accepted for the project. Asbestos already has been removed from the site. The radio tower next to the annex remains functional and will not be razed. The completion of the project must be done by May 31.
In other business:
* Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews were cutting brush and patching roadways. Commissioner Dave Flinn asked if Holmes had the distributor truck looked out because it was not functioning properly. Holmes says the vehicle is scheduled to be repaired. Flinn requested that Holmes stay on top of the issues.
* Bob Dillon, projects manager, told the commissioners that work continues on Bridge 55 on Leesville Road. The contractor has run into some time delays but should begin pouring the deck next week.
Bids for Bridge 70 on Mount Pleasant Road will be submitted by the next commissioners meeting.
Dillon also reported that the materials for the deck on the iron bridge spanning Leatherwood Creek near the entrance of Otis Park. Crews would begin taking off the old decking next week. Dillon expects repairs to be completed sometime in November.
* Sheriff Sam Craig reported there were 138 inmates in the jail, of those 25 were female and 6 were Department of Correction holds. Craig say measures are being taken to have all the security systems in place at the Courthouse by the first of the year. Cameras are currently being installed at the courthouse. Craig also added that he was adding some security cameras to the jail and making some other upgrades.
* Emergency Management Director Valarie Luchauer say to promote Fire Prevention Week the Bedford Fire Department will be hosting their annual fire prevention luncheon Wednesday at noon. The commissioners were invited to attend. Also on Saturday firefighters from Lawrence County will host a Fire Prevention Program at Tractor Supply on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be free food, candy, a smoke house and safety information.
* The Southern Indiana Development commission presented the commissioners with a limestone plaque for being a 40 year member.
* The commissioners were presented with a letter from Edward Bay. The letter was not read during the meeting and the commissioners said they would read the letter and address any issues they saw fit. Commissioner President Bill Spreen however did tell Bay that inspectors had been to the jail and that the jail passed the inspection. Bay told the commissioners he has a copy of the inspection, but his letter listed several concerns from burned out light bulbs to dirty floors, to long visitation lines and visitations not starting on time.
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