Grantville asks for safety assessment on auditorium
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
Renovating Grantville’s auditorium using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds will have to wait until city officials have a better idea of how much remediation will be required.
To that end, the Grantville City Council this week issued a directive to City Manager Johnny Williams to arrange a professional assessment of asbestos and other safety issues at the auditorium.
Introduced at the council’s June 11 meeting, auditorium renovation was tabled for information-gathering purposes and revisited Monday. A major concern is a funding source, according to city officials. Grantville’s SPLOST allotment does not include a line item specifically established for auditorium renovations, and council member Rochelle Jabaley had initially suggested using some of the more than $180,000 remaining in library funds.
However, “I was incorrect in assuming library funds can be moved over to the auditorium renovation,” Jabaley said at Monday’s meeting.
Jabaley asked City Engineer Brennan Jones about installing heating and air conditioning so the building can be occupied.
“You could do it, but as far as occupancy for public use, you are going to have to have a handicapped entrance and restrooms,” Jones replied.
“It’s been that way for years and years, and nobody in a wheelchair has ever not been able to get in,” Jabaley said.
Jabaley also forwarded the idea of using portable toilets as a temporary remedy for lack of restroom facilities.
“Could we not do that?” she asked.
“I guess you could,” Jones replied.
Grantville has more than $90,000 in SPLOST funds remaining for building repairs, and Jabaley recommended using some of those funds for auditorium work. But Coty pointed out that other city buildings also require work.
“We’ve also identified things that need to be repaired in this building that have not been addressed,” Coty said, referring to the Glanton Municipal Complex.
“With what would be left (after installation of HVAC at the auditorium), could we not do both?” Jabaley asked. “Just once a year, could we not have something the public would enjoy? It seems like that would be a good use of funds.”
Mayor Jim Sells, whose business is renovating properties, objected to any work at the auditorium.
“I’m against doing anything there,” he said. “That old building needs too much work to start pouring money into it.”
“Are you of the opinion we should not spend any money on it?” Jabaley asked Sells.
“Not a dime,” Sells replied.
Council members Barham Lundy and Johnny Cooks disagreed with Sells, with Cooks pushing to move ahead with HVAC installation at the auditorium.
Jones cautioned against beginning work without a thorough inspection of the building for environmental and safety issues, including asbestos and mold. He advised the council to first address those issues and estimated the cost at less than $2,000.
“But even if asbestos is there, as long as we don’t mess with it, it’s fine, isn’t it?” Cooks asked Jones.
“No, especially as it concerns air conditioning,” Jones replied, explaining that as insulation along steam lines dries up, it falls off and becomes airborne, its fibers inhalable.
Sells suggested having city hall – the Glanton Complex – inspected at the same time, and Jones agreed. Although asbestos was found in the crawl space and that situation was remediated, the complex has not been cleared for further asbestos or inspected for mold and other environmental and safety issues.
The inspection will be the first work on the auditorium since 2007, when the city paid Spangler and Associates of McDonough more than $30,000 to create architectural blueprints for renovations.
In other business Monday, the council:
• Agreed to pay Georgia Power installation fees and monthly lease fees for streetlights in the Greenfield subdivision.
In March, Greenfield homeowner Krystina Buffington spoke to the council, expressing concerns about the safety of children playing in the neighborhood. Buffington said the subdivision’s developer/ builder went bankrupt before he finished installing neighborhood amenities, leaving stretches of street completely dark. Research indicated the area is not served by Grantville’s electric utility but instead by Georgia Power, requiring the purchase and lease agreement.
Grantville will spend of $2,769.66 for the installation of six 150-watt, photocell-controlled light fixtures on new fiberglass poles and $97.98 per month in lease fees. Installation should take approximately six weeks, according to the proposal submitted by Georgia Power.
Buffington also had asked the city to provide and install a Caution: Children Playing sign and to reduce the subdivision’s speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour. According to Williams, the sign is “no problem,” but City Attorney Mark Mitchell must prepare an ordinance amendment for council vote before the city can reduce the speed limit.
• Declined a request by Sells to have City Attorney Mark Mitchell draft an ordinance reducing the footprint of the Grantville HPC.
Coty produced official documentation stating that any change in Grantville’s Historic District boundaries would require the same process originally used to establish the district.