Owner asks City Council to delay condemnation

Published 8:50 am Friday, June 19, 2015

The Bogalusa City Council tabled a move to condemn a building a 304 Memphis St. and gave the owners more time to clean up the business.

Adams & Associates, an air conditioning and heating company, burned on Feb. 8, 2014. The back of the business suffered the most damage in the fire. The business is owned by Jim and Janice Adams.

“For the past 50 years, Janice and I have been integral parts of the community,” Jim Adams said. “My roots go pretty deep in Bogalusa. I’m going to submit to you that the front of the building looks as good as any on Memphis Street.”

Adams said his goal was to leave the business to his grandson.

“We keep the grass mowed and painted inside,” Adams said. “When the city lost a generator at one of your pumps, I was able to get it back in service.”

Adams said $3 million in inventory was lost in the fire. He said $275,000 of that was on consignment.

“We just want it to be brought up to code,” Council President Teddy Drummond said.

Adams assured Drummond and Council members he is working as hard as possible to bring the building up to code. A recent bout of illness hampered his cleanup efforts.

“We’re trying to rebuild that building,” Adams said. “It’s a pay as you go deal. We have not received any insurance for it.”

Former Councilwoman Oneita Graham and others asked the Council to give Adams time to clean up the building.

“Let’s work with this man and use common sense,” long-time Council-watcher Fate Ferrell said.

An ordinance authorizing Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette to enter into a supplemental agreement with ARE Consultants for a partial parallel taxiway at Bogalusa’s George Carr Airport was also tabled after lengthy discussion.

Troy and Candy Crain own the property the airport is looking at to lengthen the runway.

“We own the piece of property this ordinance is trying to take from us,” Troy Cain said. “The property was a lot larger when the airport took some other property. The only thing I’m upset about is that the facts weren’t presented properly. I also own the mobile home park and an automotive shop on the property.”

Bogalusa Public Works Director James Hall said the property was originally appraised for $147,000 in 2008. Another appraisal in 2011 had it considerably less at $28,800.

“This property is outside the city limits,” Candy Crain said. “How do you take land that has been in our family for 60 years?”

“The property will be appraised again within six months if the FAA grant comes through for land acquisition and relocation.” Hall said.

“I’m not interested in selling my land at all,” Troy Crain said.

Council Attorney Dale Branch said should an agreement with ARE be completed, the question of acquiring the property through eminent domain proceedings could come back before the Council for vote.

An ordinance was introduced to authorize Perrette to enter into a consulting agreement with Kyle Associates. The City Hall Annex is leaking and the council wants to request Kyle to draw up plans to fix the leak. The agenda item will be up for public discussion and vote of the Council at the July 7 meeting.

During her administrative remarks, Perrette said the city does have a plan to fix city streets, contrary to what some speakers during the public participation segment alleged.

“I don’t have a magic wand. I drive on these same streets,” Perrette said. “There is a plan, but it can’t happen overnight. We have an intergovernmental agreement with Washington Parish. Please know I’m taking my broom to work and missing these potholes. We are not oblivious to the streets and potholes.”

Perrette also said for the first time the city is current in its bills.

Councilwoman Tamira Smith said the first annual Parish Olympics Youth Olympics is scheduled for Saturday at Bogalusa High School Stadium. The event is geared toward youth between the ages of 6 to 18. The Youth Olympics festivities begin at 9 a.m. at City Hall for the Youth Torch Run to the stadium. Games begin at 10:30 a.m.

Also, the second Little Eyes Are Watching Youth Camp is scheduled for June 22 to 26. at Bogalusa High School. Camp Director is Bogalusa High School graduate Joiya Smith.