Carson sworn in as new Adairsville mayor
by Jason Lowrey
May 28, 2014 | 1355 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Once the Adairsville City Council adopted results from the May 20 special election, Kenneth Carson Sr. became the city’s newest mayor.

Taking his official seat during the Tuesday night called meeting, Carson oversaw the council voting to further delay a decision on the facade for the renovated city hall. Following requests from residents, the council elected to wait until its June 10 meeting to decide what to do with the building.

In a work session that immediately preceeded the called meeting, architect Kenneth Harless explained his designs for the interior and exterior of city hall. His design calls for putting the city council chambers on the ground floor, with bill collection windows across the lobby, which he said would keep most of the city’s day-to-day business in an accessible area. Staff offices will be located upstairs, with access provided via an elevator and staircase.

For city hall’s facade he had two options: restore the marble on the bank facade or tear it off and build a replica inside of city hall using part of the good marble. A brick facade would then fill in where the marble was supposed to be.

Going with the restoration option, called Option B, would cost approximately $109,000, Harless said. The brick facade option would cost $15,000, with another $8,000 to create the interior replica.

“The way they install that marble into that brick is [as] it went up, meaning those pieces that are busted and chipped that would have to be replaced are literally laid back into that brick, and it would be impossible to replace those pieces without taking the entire facade down,” Harless said.

City Manager Pam Madison said Option B would amount to 10 percent of the city’s construction budget, which led to her recommend the council approve Option A and create the replica. In addition to costing the city less, she said it would keep the construction project on schedule.

“We should be far enough along during the locomotive festival that that fencing will not be that far out into the square,” Madison said. “The front will be secured and we can move that fencing back so it doesn’t continue to interfere with the traffic flow in the square, as well as any festival success.”

In addition, Madison later said, keeping the construction project and getting city government back into the square would reduce the costs of renting temporary facilities.

Some residents pressed the city for more time to save the bank’s facade by raising outside funds.

“I guess that would be better than not having it, but it’s not the same,” Rita Pritchard said of the marble replica in Option A. “It’s not the same as people being able — we get a lot of people just driving through town and I talked to a number of people. You know, to have that restored would be a big asset to the city of Adairsville. I think there’s enough happening in our county that we know that there’s going to be a lot of increase in the whole county and surrounding counties. So I just think we need to give this a lot of consideration and reconsider our options. I know it’s a lot of money. I do feel we could get a lot of support as far as raising extra money for the extra cost.”

Madison said the city was not “sacrificing the marble” to improve the rest of the city hall project.

“This is all very, very reasonable to stay within the budget. It’s the basics,” she said.

Candy Antonio also spoke out against the idea of tearing down the marble and replacing it with brick, citing the eye-catching nature of the facade.

“The bottom line is we preserve those special things that make Adairsville unique, [or we] throw away the opportunity for people coming to town, wanting to move here, bringing their business here. We want to stay special. We want to stay unique. I think if we destroy these things that are treasures, then shame on us. I think we should, if we have to go to plan A and settle for having the bank, that’s a good alternative, but it’s not the best. I think if we have to settle, so be it, but at least give us the chance to try to save it. That’s all we’re asking,” Antonio said.

The council later approved tabling the decision until its next meeting. Community members were asked to have an idea by the next meeting of whether or not funds could be acquired or raised.

The council then approved giving Madison the authority to sign an agreement with Yanmar on a new type of heating unit using natural gas to be installed at city hall.

After the meeting, Carson believed his swearing in as mayor was an important moment in his life, as he started out in Adairsville as a truck stop custodian when he was 13.

“But, yes, as far as me and my culture and the message that it may send to the youth ... is that, guess what? You know what? He came from a janitor to now he’s the mayor and guess what? That may make them want to have the attitude that ... if I shoot for the stars at least I will hit the moon,” he said.

In other business, the city council:

• Approved a purchasing code for the city, which amended its Administration Ordinance.

• Allowed city staff to negotiate with Republic Services, Inc. for commercial and residential trash collection.

• Approved election of Georgia Municipal Association’s District 1 officers for the 2014-2015 ballot.

• Approved a malt beverage and wine retail package license for Bob’s Supermarket at 5922 Joe Frank Harris Parkway.

The Adairsville City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10, at 7 p.m. at the rail depot.