With an ad beginning in today’s paper, the city of Statesboro is seeking offers for the Municipal Court office’s former home at 125 South College St. The winning bidder must move the house or tear it down.
Removing the house on the corner of West Grady Street and South College will allow the city to make improvements to the intersection and add parking, City Engineer Brad Deal explained to City Council. Police and the city engineering staff have long noted the tight turn radiuses at this intersection. When multiple drivers arrive at the same time, some must avoid turning there or back up to allow others to turn.
“Any of you that have driven through there, I know you know that it’s impossible to make a right turn without jumping the curb or going in the opposing lane,” Deal said Tuesday. “So that’s the primary reason. The building is sitting so close to the road that it actually interferes with the improvements that we’d like to make.”
The 1,700-square-foot wood-frame house, built circa 1920, has been vacant since March 2016. The Municipal Court office was moved at that time to renovated space in the old Police Department building, which also houses the courtroom, across Grady Street.
All asbestos-containing materials that were in the house have been removed by the city, Deal said, and this is also reflected in the ad. Two “heat pump” heating and air-conditioning units remained with the building, but the city staff intends to salvage these before the house is removed or demolished, he said in an email Friday.
The ad is worded as a request for proposals for “demolition, relocation or repurposing,” with sealed bids due in the council chambers at City Hall at 3 p.m. Oct. 24.
“As you can see, bidders will have the option of relocating the building, salvaging parts of it and disposing of the rest, or simply demolishing and disposing of the entire building,” Deal wrote. “The bidder will be responsible for the removal of the entire building.”
If none of the bids is found “reasonable and acceptable,” the city would then demolish the building using its own work force, he said.
The intersection improvement project at South Main and West Grady is budgeted under the city’s Capital Improvements Program, and the engineering staff is working on the design. The plan puts a part of the street where the front porch of 125 S. College St. is now, Deal said. But in answer to a question from Mayor Jan Moore, he said the intersection improvement is not expected to affect a house on the opposite corner.
“Once the building is gone, obviously we can make the intersection improvements, and we’d also be able to add some extra parking in that area,” Deal told the council. “The parking lot at the existing municipal court fills up pretty quickly, and this will be like some spillover parking.”
He said some of added parking would also be available to the current Statesboro Police Department headquarters, which is on Grady Street behind the house.
City Council unanimously declared the house surplus for disposal.
“I like the idea that you’re going to open the disposal of the building to the public, now trying to give the public an opportunity to buy the building or dispose of it as opposed to the city having to do it,” said Councilman Sam Lee Jones.
Deal replied, “We don’t know if anybody would be interested, but we’ll find out.”
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.