Spencer to pay contractor to remove buildings’ rubble

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó Spencer aldermen voted Friday to pay a private contractor to move rubble that remains from two downtown buildings.
By a 3-to-1 count, aldermen voted to pay Tommy Long’s Grading and House Moving $7,850 to move the brick and other debris that remains from the buildings at 127 and 129 Fifth St.
The $7,850 bid was the lowest of two submitted for the work.
Aldermen Nick Bishop, Jeff Morris and C.E. Spear voted in favor of the motion while Ken Womble cast the dissenting vote. Aldermen Scott Benfield and Donnie Hinson weren’t present at the called meeting.
The buildings were brought down in October. The heap of bricks and lumber has since sat at the corner of Fifth Street and Yadkin Avenue, greatly resembling a bomb’s aftermath.
Mayor Jody Everhart said he expects the bricks to be carted to the town’s landfill on Sower’s Ferry Road sometime within the coming week.
After that, Everhart said, the town will likely hire a company to clean and stack the bricks. A lien to cover the expenses will be placed on the property, which is owned by Larry Graves of Linwood.
“We’re kind of stuck with them,” Everhart said of the bricks.
The chapter is the latest in what has turned out to be a strange saga involving the town and the buildings. The buildings were about to crumble earlier this year when the town closed the intersection of Fifth Street and Yadkin Avenue to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
After weeks of delays, Graves finally had the buildings leveled. But he has since done little to clean the corner.
Everhart said Graves appeared at Friday’s meeting and asked for the opportunity to move the bricks to his property in Davidson County.
He told aldermen, Everhart said, that he had a contractor ready to move the bricks and the work should be finished in about two weeks.
But Everhart said Graves has made the town a similar promise in the past and aldermen elected instead to go ahead and pay to have the work done.
Everhart said the rubble can’t be hauled to the Rowan County Landfill and dumped because the old bricks are of value. He said that if the bricks were disposed of, there’s a chance Graves could sue the town for compensation.
Everhart said the town doesn’t want its own employees to clean the bricks because tests revealed a small amount of asbestos in the debris. If town employees cleaned the bricks, there’s always a chance the workers could eventually sue the town for getting asbestos in their lungs.