The old health department stands amid rubble Friday. Demolition began last week. Photo by: Lee Adams/Dispatch Staff
December 15, 2012 8:42:14 PM
A North Columbus eyesore is being demolished after remaining vacant more than two years.
The old Lowndes County Health Department building on Military Road is being torn down by an independent contractor.
"We hired a contractor a few months ago to do the work," County Administrator Ralph Billingsley said. "The demolition process started last week and it should be completed quickly."
The demolition process is also a joint project between the county and the City of Columbus. The Columbus City Council recently voted to allow the county to have the rubbish from the building dumped at the city's landfill at no cost to the county.
The old health department has been vacant since a new state-of-the-art building on Lehmberg Road opened in August 2010. The 11,500-square-foot facility was an almost $2 million project for the county.
The new building was funded through a portion of the county's interest accrued through the 2006 sale of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle for $30 million to Baptist as well as some state-provided grant money.
The demolished building, which was more than 60 years old, had become a source of contention and concern for many in North Columbus, including Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem.
"One of the reasons I was such an advocate for having the building removed was because I had some safety concerns," Karriem said. "I was also concerned that the old building had become a haven for drug activity and other illicit activities. I went to the council and then to (District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks) and talked to him about the county demolishing it. I am very grateful to the board of supervisors for having the building removed."
Billingsley said he is not certain what the county will do with the property, but he believes they will probably look at selling it at some point.
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