​Monteagle to Demolish Condemned Church

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 24 meeting, the Monteagle City Council voted to demolish a condemned Layne Avenue church and put a lien on the property to recover the cost. In March, Codes Enforcement Officer Earl Geary advised the council the city could pursue this course of action. Geary placed a condemned sign on the structure over a year ago.
The county had previously sought bids on demolition of the church, but only received one response. Three bids are required. The possibility the structure contained asbestos made potential contractors reluctant to bid on the project.
“They don’t want to spend the money investigating the cost of demolition and not get the bid,” said Mayor David Sampley.
Alderman Kenneth Gipson made a motion the city “contact the environmental people to determine if there’s asbestos and if not to have the city tear it down and put a lien on the property to recover costs.”
The council unanimously approved the motion.
The council also approved paving Chickory Lane located in the vicinity of the water plant. Sampley said the city would only be charged for materials, cost $13,009, since Marion County would do the work. The city’s budget allocates funds to pay for the project.
Revisiting the need to replace the roof on the Monteagle Community Center, which houses May Justus Memorial Library, the council decided to rebid the project.
Asked about internal damage, library Director Karen Tittle said the sheetrock was buckled in places and there were several long cracks in the wall.
The previous call for bids to replace the roof only received two responses. The rebid request will include addressing internal damage in addition to replacing the 25-year-old roof.
Reporting on citations issued since the August council meeting, Police Chief Virgil McNeese said the department made two arrests for criminal activity.
“An individual wearing a ski mask, a long-sleeve shirt and camouflage pants entered the liquor store and demanded money from the clerk,” McNeese said. The suspect fled the scene on foot. An investigation coupled with a video recording of the theft resulted in leads and a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. The suspect is in custody. McNeese said, “It’s possible others are involved.” The investigation is still open.
Commenting on the second criminal arrest, McNeese said it resulted from a routine traffic stop. “The officer requested consent to search and located drugs in the vehicle and $3,000 cash.”