Discussion continues on potential conversion of Agri-business Center into courthouse complex

Blount County Commission

On Monday, the Blount County Commission convened for an emergency meeting. Chris Green, county commission chairman, opened the meeting by thanking everyone for their compliance with Gov. Ivey’s mandate to wear masks to keep the visitors who are vulnerable to COVID-19 safe.

The roll was called and a quorum was established with commissioners Allen Armstrong, Mike Painter, Dean Calvert, and Nick Washburn all in attendance. Once the agenda was approved and adopted, county attorney Jeff Sherrer requested the commission enter into executive session.

Before the commissioners and legal council broke for the executive session, the commission did discuss potential actions related to county-project financing. Discussions continue with Stone Investments and the G14 document was signed and sent.

After the executive session concluded, Judge Green and Calvert announced that they will study the Agri-business Center building to consider its conversion to a new courthouse complex. Calvert also explained that he had met with Rick Lathan of Lathan Associates Architects earlier in the day to discuss the project’s feasibility. Calvert said Lathan explained that the Agri-business Center conversion appeared to be a “more doable project instead of a courthouse renovation.”

The last item on the agenda was the reinstatement of Blount County employee and buildings maintenance manager, William Blythe, who is to be available for on-call questions from the commission until Sept. 30, pending further action of the commission. Calvert abstained from voting on this matter.

The commission’s next scheduled meeting is its monthly work session Thursday, Aug. 6, at 9 a.m., followed by a budget work session. The next business meeting is Monday, Aug. 10, at 9 a.m.