Submitted by Macon County Mayor Steve Jones
Macon County Commissioners voted at the January 18th, meeting to purchase property from the City of Lafayette to build a new administrative building on. The property is the first ten acres of land on the left as you drive down Winding Stairs Lane.
There is room for different facilities to be built on it, including a new administrative building. The commissioners are looking at the possibility of locating a new health department at this location. The current entrance will be widened to allow for a three-lane paved road which will provide access to the county property.
Most county commissioners feel the present county courthouse has outgrown the growth that is going on in Macon County. There are issues with having enough parking, getting in and out of the parking places, along with most county offices are running out of space. Macon County Mayor Steve Jones said the county commissioners do not have any intent of doing away with the county courthouse, and with ADA improvements it could be used for archives and historical uses. The intent is for it to be maintained and used for archive storage and to keep the historical value of the county.
Mayor Jones said the courthouse is a historic place in Macon County and there has never been any discussion of getting rid of it. The county commissioners will make the decision of what the old courthouse will be used for. It has been discussed to let each department keep their office for file storage, but then the commissioners could possibly look at moving the county archives facility and the historical society facility back into the courthouse. The problem with this building is there are a lot of compliance issues needing to be dealt with. This is a decision the county commissioners will have to make. There are a lot of different thoughts on what to use the courthouse for, but no decision has been made at this time.
The county attempted to purchase the old Rite Aid building, which would have held everything but there was no room for expansion. Mayor Jones said it is a good facility, but the owners didn’t want to sell it at this time, they were wanting to lease it. The commissioners chose to build a new facility rather than lease the former Rite Aid building. “We have ARP funds that should pay for the majority of this new facility, and it won’t cost the taxpayers as much as it would if we had to borrow all of the money,” said Mayor Jones. Mayor Jones said the commissioners had appropriated approximately $2.7 million dollars of American Rescue Plan funds toward purchasing and renovating the Rite Aid building that can be used for the construction of a new building. Mayor Jones said there may be a way to transfer additional funds to the project but that will have to be done with the commissioner’s approval. Work continues towards restoring the outside of the building that will help control the moisture getting to the inside of the exterior walls.