Rest of old city hall demolished

Rest of old city hall demolished


RIDGELAND — A crew was working to complete the demolition of the old City Hall building here that was accidentally partially demolished earlier this year.

Public Works Director Alan Hart said the city could not discuss the issue due to pending litigation with the contractor, who has yet to be identified.

“We simply are not in a position to discuss while this is an ongoing legal matter,” Hart said.

The accidental demolition of the building at the corner of U.S. 51 and Lake Harbour Drive occurred on Monday, Jan. 15, while the contractor was demolishing an old shopping center behind the former government building.

“The contractor made a mistake,” Mayor Gene F. McGee said at the time.

City officials would not say if the contractor seen finishing the demolition of the old city hall building earlier this week was the initial contractor or another company.

The city still owns the property and has had it up for sale.

According to Hart, the matter has been discussed privately during executive sessions at various city board meetings with city attorneys.

City officials have yet to identify the contractor, although the Journal submitted a public information request for that information on Wednesday.

“We will process the request ASAP,” Hart said.

Hart has said that the city accepted a contract for asbestos removal and demolition of the shopping center with the contractor for $47,000. He said this was the lowest of four bids received for that project. The contract did not have to go before the board of aldermen because it was below the $75,000 threshold. 

The city board approved an agenda item unanimously on the consent agenda at the Oct. 3, 2023, regularly scheduled meeting for the Public Works Department to advertise bids for asbestos abatement and demolition of the shopping center.

The shopping center was acquired by the city for demolition to allow for upcoming improvements at the intersection of U.S. 51 and Lake Harbour Drive.

The property was purchased in late 2023 for $1,165,000, Hart said.

The city is currently waiting to hear from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to finalize plans for the intersection improvement, according to McGee.

“It will be a little while,” he said.

The shopping center once had a liquor store, a coin laundry, and other businesses.

The Journal reported in July 2022 that city officials put plans for the coin laundry to expand on hold saying they were not sure what the future held for the building.

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier acknowledged the traffic issues at the intersection at the time. He argued that traffic coming in and out of the existing building was “horrible” and argued the building was “past its prime.”

“I think the city would benefit from that building not being there,” Gautier said. McGee agreed during that meeting that the building could soon become unusable.

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