Despite two council members’ suggestion to delay the vote so more information could be gathered, West Jefferson officials decided to proceed with the demolition of Galbreath Hall at Tuesday’s meeting.
Council member Jim King motioned to table the issue until the next meeting in order to gather more information. King is a member of the parks and recreation committee, which decided last week to recommend postponing the decision to the council.
King and fellow parks and recreation committee member Ray Martin argued that council could look further into what the cost of fixing the ceiling would be, whether the village could sell the building and overall finances of the project.
“We want to make sure all the options are looked into, because once it’s down, it’s down,” King said.
Council member Cory Coburn immediately challenged King’s suggestion.
“You’re basically pushing it off for two more weeks,” Coburn said. “What type of alternative or possible solution are you thinking that you’re going to complete in two weeks?”
Coburn said this information could have been gathered earlier.
“You had six months … to create these alternatives, and you didn’t do anything,” Coburn said.
King and Martin said the council was advised not to talk about the issue while a petition was circulating this summer, which prevented them from coming up with alternatives earlier.
Council president Ron Garver said the facts were already out there, and it was time to move on.
“The decision from our law director pretty much states the options we have, and has answered the questions you are talking about,” Garver said.
The building was deemed unsafe for public occupation in March of this year by an independent structural engineer.
Galbreath Hall had been used by the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association (WJYAA) to hold some of its events, as well as to store equipment before the building was declared unsafe. The group has been requesting the village repair the building or donate the building to the organization.
WJYAA President John Stanley, who has been advocating against the building’s demolition, said his attorney needed more time to come up with some options that would keep the building up.
“We would like a little bit more time,” Stanley said.
The council voted down the motion to table the issue, and voted to pass the resolution to demolish the hall.
The long-awaited, final decision passed five to two. Martin and King placed the only dissenting votes.
Master Renovations was selected to demolish the building last week after placing the lowest bid of $18,000, pending the decision of the council. It beat seven other contractors with bids ranging up to $140,000.
Parks and recreation director Dave Metzger said he thought the demolition would take place in a month to six weeks, though he could not be sure until he spoke with the contractor.
Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.