Marked Tree Council offers to donate Carver Gym

Friday, March 18, 2016

After discussing Carver Gym for nearly a year, the Marked Tree City Council approved the possibility of donating the building to an interested person or group with a June deadline.

The gym has been closed since last April when the council saw the condition it was in. The council has previously voted down an option to tear down the gym, and last month a vote to restore the gym failed.

Alderman Steve Craig provided a motion in writing to the council outlining a plan for donating the gym. The motion was in four parts:

*Advertise to donate the building to an interested person or persons. Interested persons have until June 1 to express interest and must be at the June 13 city council meeting to present their interest in the gym to the council.

*The council will possibly contribute the repair or part of the repair cost of the roof.

*At the time of signing papers to donate the building, the city will shut off utilities, insurance will be dropped, Eddie Mitchell will not be employed by the city to oversee the gym, and the property will be put back on the tax books.

*If interested persons do not come forward for the donation of the gym by June, Carver Gym will be torn down.

Craig's written motion closes by stating, "The restoration of the gym would be financially cheaper for an individual to restore as the City of Marked Tree has more rules and regulations to follow. The city has to be in compliance with all standards such as certified contractors, engineers and architects, and the bidding process, where an individual that owns the property can hire or use in kind labor of their choice."

There was much discussion before the vote, with Alderman Jerry Jones asking the Carver Gym committee be given more time to raise donations to fix the gym. Several council members pointed out that a vote to restore the gym has already failed, and donating the gym is the next alternative. Craig's motion was approved with a vote of 5-2. After the vote, Jones said he wants the committee to get together to start a plan to raise money for the gym. Committee member Louis Bailey said it had already been started.

In other business, the council approved releasing $73,500 from the Water Department's operating account to be used for emergency sewer line repairs. Director of Public Works Wayne Hendrix said the sewer line that goes under the railroad tracks--and services an area that includes Carson Street, Adams Street, and Chicago Street--has caved in. Hendrix said he wants to put a pumping station in to fix the problem. City Clerk Pam Wright said there is enough money in the Water Department's operating fund to pay for the project, but if the worst happened, the money could come from one of the department's CDs. The council unanimously approved releasing the money.

The council also:

*Heard from Sherry Whitlow regarding the stray cat problem. Police Chief Jerry Lung promised to research the nuisance animal ordinance and find out the proper way to handle the problem.

*Approved donating the Fire Department's old fire truck to the city of Gilmore.

*Approved transferring money from the 1996 sales tax reserve to the General Fund to pay for the fire truck the city is buying from Marion.

*Approved the 2014 audit.

*Approved a resolution removing a 2014 freight-liner from the city's inventory.

*Approved a resolution establishing the policy related to the collection of bonds and fines for the district court. This resolution had to be approved because of Lung taking over as the new police chief this year.

*Heard from Alderman Cleo Johnson, Jr., regarding a water bill discrepancy which shows usage when Johnson claims the water was turned off. Hendrix promised to check the meter with Johnson personally.

*Hired Corey James as a patrolman.

*Fired Eddie Mitchell from his job of overseeing Carver Gym.

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