Council approves demolition of former armory
Demolition crews are expected to begin work today leveling the former National Guard Armory building in Russellville.
The armory was built in the mid 1950s on land donated by the city, but the National Guard moved operations out of the facility in 2006 when the local unit was consolidated with others in the region. It was then deeded back to the city of Russellville in 2008.
“This building meant a lot to many people in Russellville who served in the National Guard,” Russellville Mayor David Grissom said.
“My dad spent countless hours there while he served, so I know the importance that it had to our community and to the role it played in helping defending our country.”
But years of wear and decay have left the building useless for most community needs, he said.
“It served its purpose but now it really has become not only an eyesore but its unsafe and there’s no need for it to become a drain on the taxpayers,” Grissom said.
The city council unanimously voted Monday night to enter into an agreement with Wallace Construction Service to tear down the building at a cost not to exceed $7,500. City officials said the work would be done at a rate of $160 per hour.
City employees will remove the remaining rubble and debris.
According to city officials, when the building was deeded back to the city in 2008, it was estimated that it would cost more than $1.6 million to renovate, a total which did not include funding for required asbestos removal.
According to a grant application filed in June 2009 by then Mayor Troy Oliver, who served as a commander of the local guard unit, “the building has been left in a state of disrepair and has become a blight in the neighborhood.”
“This administration, like other previous administrations, has tried to find a away to repair and use this facility for the benefit of our citizens,” Grissom said.
“We have sought the advice and opinion of various engineers and construction experts and have been advised that it would cost substantially more to repair it, than is feasible,” Grissom said.
“The council feels that an attempt to repair it would not be a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”
Work on the demolition was expected to begin early Wednesday morning.
In other business, the council:
• presented a resolution honoring members of the Russellville 8 and Under All Stars softball team, which recently won the ARPA state softball championship
• voted to appropriate $1,000 to the Franklin County Development Authority to help offset costs associated with last week’s groundbreaking ceremony at the IHP plant
• entered into a $500 contract with Russellville basketball coach Michael Smith for a summer basketball camp
• approved a contract between the Russellville Foster Grandparent Program and Carson and Barnes Circus, which will be held in October
• accepted the resignation of LaVonne Lucas from the city court system
• approved a revised emergency operations plan with the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency.