The new Bald Knob Water Department warehouse is practically finished and ready to be moved into, but the old city-owned building next to it will have to be torn down first, according to Bald Knob Building and Grounds Committee Chairman Vince Vire.
“In order to fully use the new building, we are going to have to tear down the building that sits beside it because you can’t use the roll doors, and that was my understanding of what we were looking at when we built the new building,” Vire said Monday, making a motion to move ahead with demolition of the old MD building.
Mayor Barth Grayson said he “would really not like to tear that building down because of history.” He said he would like the building reviewed one more time.
However, Councilman David Smith said, “We went up and reviewed it before we built the new one and that was our thing, to tear it down. If we can’t let go of the past, we’re never going to be able to move to the future.”
Water Supervisor Andy Pistone said the electrical wiring was bad on the old building and “people have got up in there and tore all the gas lines out of there.”
“Luckily, we’ve got it turned off,” Pistone said. “They broke in there from the side and alleyway door and got up into the ceiling.”
Grayson said if the council wanted to vote on the building being demolished, he would not stand in the way. Vire’s motion to tear down the old building and take bids for demolishing it then was seconded by Smith and approved.
Councilman Johnny Hodges said before demolition begins, the city should get the brass out of the building and if that was sold, that would go a long way in helping to buy new shelving for the new building. Pistone said the city has a lot of old meters that could be sold as well.
Pistone had told the council that the new building still needs shelving before everything can be moved in, but the department can use some of the old shelves in the old building. He also noted that the city still has a lot of old parts that employees “do need to scrap.”
Bald Knob officials started considering the idea for the new building last August. Grayson and Building and Grounds Committee members toured the MD building, which is located at 103 S. Main St. and was being used as a warehouse for both the water and street department, back then and decided it would be better to build a new building for water department supplies and warehouse rather than getting the air conditioning fixed and put a new roof on it.
Vire said then that it was in pretty bad shape. On Aug. 19 of last year, it was reported that a thief got into the attic of the old building and stole most of the copper out of it.
Grayson said that the old building used to be a feed store and two of the murals from those days still remain on the building. “That’s one of the reasons we talked about saving it.”
Councilman Billy Feagin said last year that it was going to cost $12,000 to roof the old building. “It needs to be taken all the way down,” he said.
The council voted last September to spend $42,000 to build a 30-by-75-foot warehouse, accepting a bid from Absolute Roofing of Searcy for the work.