BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Mayor William Bell’s plan to locate a public safety complex in Ensley has hit a speed bump.
Thursday evening, a Jefferson County judge ordered that the City of Birmingham demolish the building that they had proposed to renovate and house the complex. The original proposal would have the police department, fire department, and municipal court headquartered in Ensley in the renovated building.
According to the court order, the Ramsay McCormack Building has been vacant for over 30 years. In 2012, the Ensley Revitalization Committee; Playover Gamess & Movies, LLC; and Hope International, LLC filed a six count complaint against Birmingham, asking for demolition of the building and monetary damages, alleging negligence, breach of contract, declaratory judgement (demolition), private nuisance, public nuisance, and pollution and contamination.
Thursday, the judge issued an injunction, declaring a the building must be demolished on or before April 28, 2017.
Some area businesses are glad of that decision. Jimmy Crane owns Gilmer Drugs in downtown Ensley, and he says whether the mayor’s plans come to fruition or the building comes down, something needs to happen soon, for the good of the entire community.
“That’s the first thing you see. You see it from the interstate. It’s just difficult as a small business owner to attract people into your business when you have a building that the windows are falling out and tiles are falling off the side of the building,” said Crane.
We reached out to the City of Birmingham, who only officially announced the plan to renovate the Ramsay McCormack building Wednesday morning. Spokesperson April Odom says:
We were aware of the lawsuit and will go back to Judge Graffeo with the restoration plan for the building. The Public Safety complex plan for Ensley will remain in that area either way.