PIEDMONT – In its work session Tuesday evening, the Piedmont City Council heard a proposal from fire chief Mike Ledbetter concerning the construction of a fire training facility located at the Piedmont Sports Complex, behind the southwest corner of aquatic center.
Ledbetter estimated the cost of the project would cost around $50,000, and it would take approximately two years to complete.
“What I’m wanting to do is construct a three-story, live-fire training center, which would be built out of conex boxes, which are the steel containers you see on construction sites,” Ledbetter said. “This would all be paid for out of the fire tax, unless the city wants to put money in and pay for it out of a budget.”
“This is something I’ve been working on and have been thinking about. I really started thinking about it a couple of years ago. We’ve gotten very aggressive on it the past couple of months. Several firemen have been studying the plans on it. Not only do we want to build it to where we can start using it, but we want to build to where we can make adjustments to it and modifications later on if we need to.”
Ledbetter said he was part of a group that toured a similar facility in Hoover, which is “pretty close to what we’re thinking of doing.” He also planned to tour another facility in Athens on Wednesday morning to get even more ideas.
District 2 councilman Richard Williams said he thought the proposed facility is a good idea, but also said he would like to see some “hard estimates” of what all would be needed to complete the project.
“We can’t get into the same thing we got into before,” Williams said, referring to the cost of the downtown gazebo project.
Ledbetter replied to Williams and the council with the figures he has so far.
“The churt is going to cost us $3,150. To pour a concrete pad, a 60x60x8-inch pad would cost us $9,000. To form that concrete up to finish it and saw the seams would cost us $5,000. We’ve had one conex donated to us. To purchase four more conexes, it would cost us $1,600 apiece plus $450 shipping. It would be $6,720 to have the four brought to us. In the very beginning, we’re looking at about $25,000 as a close estimate.
“The other thing we would do is put a pipeline in that would be about 400 yards long and a fire hydrant. Then we would install a two-inch to two-and-a-half inch pipe throughout the building and put in a stand pipe and sprinkler system in the building. Buying steel for staircases and buying the handrails would be the final cost for this thing. The welding is going to be partly contracted, partly in kind. That’s the cost we have right now.”
The council approved moving forward with the first phase of the project during its regular session.
Also during Tuesday’s work session, the council heard from Bill and Molly Jordan. Bill Jordan is a licensed mental health counseling professional operating in Rome, Ga. He would like to start his own practice in Piedmont at the former office of Dr. Dorothy Nelder.
The Jordans proposed renting the building for $350 a month, and for the city to give them the option of purchasing the building within a couple of years.
During its regular session, the council agreed to rent the building to the Jordans for $350 a month for the first year, then increase the rent to $500 a month the following year, pending approval from city attorney Ron Allen.
In other business, the council approved a resolution concerning the Centre-Piedmont-Cherokee County Regional Airport. The airport has $2,474 of non-primary entitlement funds from 2018 that were recovered during the closeout of a previous grant that expires this year. The funds cannot be carried over.
The airport district officer would like to transfer those funds to another eligible airport within the state of Alabama for an eligible AIP project. Otherwise, the funds will go into a national pot of money without guarantee the funds will come back to benefit an airport in Alabama.
The council also agreed to go enter into an agreement with Montgomery Ponder, LLC, concerning an opioid class action litigation suit against pharmaceutical companies. The council heard from attorney Luke Montgomery at its last meeting concerning the suit.
Local resident Harry Nuttall also approached the council on Tuesday to donate $150 to first responders. Nuttall has made an annual donation to first responders for the past several years.
The council also heard police, abatement and animal control reports from police chief Freddie Norton for the month of February. Minutes of the previous meeting were also approved, as were bills for payment in the amount of $535,913.79.
The next council meeting is scheduled for April 6.
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