Council to consider Plant B ordinance
Now that a plan is in place for the former Thomasville Furniture Industries Plant B facility, City Council members hope the eyesore will soon become a thing of the past.
Council will vote on an ordinance at Tuesday's meeting that will order Fisher Ferry LLC, the company that owns the old plant, to abate the nuisance caused by the rundown building.
Should Fisher Ferry LLC ignore the ordinance, the city can take steps to begin the abatement process and issue liens against the property for any steps taken at the site, including partial demolition or asbestos removal. Following more than two years of haggling with property owner Jeff Schwarz, his bank and two LLCs over demolition of the structure, the city will move ahead through the legal system.
"I think the route we’re going may produce some fruit, or I hope so anyway," Councilman Raleigh York said. "If it does, it's been a long time coming but we'll have to wait and see where it leads."
Council's efforts since the saga began in June 2011 has been to avoid paying the estimated $400,000 it would cost to demolish the plant. Councilman Neal Grimes feels it's Schwarz's obligation to take care of the eyesore, not Thomasville taxpayers.
"None of us on the council or in the city feel it's fair to incur any expense for demolishing the building owned by Mr. Schwarz.," said Grimes. "He's done all kinds of tricks to keep from assuming and taking responsibility for his property. It's a lot of money to spend, we understand that, but we shouldn't have to spend it. We're doing everything we can not to spend it. We're trying to take every legal position that's available to us."
One of the biggest concerns at the site is safety. A protective fence has been compromised by vagrants who entered the building and started a fire to keep warm. While no one was hurt, York's concerns are someone else might not be so lucky.
"All of us certainly want to get the eyesore removed from the neighborhood over there, but more than that we want it removed because it's a dangerous situation for children who may be drawn to it," York said. "Those buildings aren't intact anymore. They've got holes in the floors where things have been taken out where somebody can fall through and get seriously injured or killed. It's quite the safety hazard and we need to get it removed."
City council will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, on the second floor at Thomasville Police Department.
In other business, the Council is expected to approve installment finances for capital expenditures for the new budget year. York said the city will finance $701,500 for 59 months to purchase five marked police cars, one unmarked patrol car, a fire department vehicle, an inspection vehicle, a rear loading garbage truck, a street department truck, an extraction tool, a farm tractor, a leak detector for the water department, a diesel pump and a water plant truck.
In addition, Council will vote on a code of ordinances amendment that will change the parking limit on West Main Street from 30 minutes to two hours.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.