City votes to table discussions on old armory as senior center

Less than a week after Anderson County Commission passed a resolution to enter in discussions with the city of Clinton about using the old armory building as a senior citizens center, the Clinton City Council has voted to table those talks.

Monday night, the City Council voted 6-1 to table discussions with the county “until the time is right.”

Clinton Mayor Scott Burton voted “no” to tabling discussions.

Councilman Jim McBride made the motion to table discussions on the old armory, though he said he was all in favor of the county using the building as a senior center.

“But there are so many moving parts, so many variables,” McBride said.

Those moving parts and variables center mostly around the current tenant of the building — The Roane State Community College Higher Education and Workforce Training facility.

Roane State, McBride said, will vacate the building once the new Tennessee College of Applied Technology building in Andersonville is completed.

The date given for leaving the old armory is November 2022.

“They had a ribbon cutting 15 months ago,” McBride said. “But has any dirt been moved?”

McBride said he was wary of promising the county the building and it not being available to lease at the time agreed on.

McBride suggested once the city knows RSCC will vacate the building then talks can begin.

McBride also said the city wanted to “partner” with the county in regards to the old armory building.

Burton has written a letter to City Manager Roger Houck as a sort of guideline for the discussions. In that initial letter Burton said the county would be responsible for “grinding and polishing” the floors in the building at a cost estimated at $40,000.

The city would be responsible for replacing the doors and windows (the windows are single pane) at approximately $75,000, and making the bathrooms American With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, at approximately $40-50,000.

The initial discussions, Burton’s letter said, would have the county paying five-percent of the funds required for a new heating and air conditioning system in the first year, and going up an additional five-percent every year until the county would be responsible for 50-percent of that cost.

McBride had some concerns about the financial arrangement, but it was agreed those terms were just a starting point.

But McBride said his chief concern was “the date” the building would be ready for the county to occupy the building.

Councilman E.T. Stamey added that he had talked with a representative of RSCC and that “more rock” had been found on the Andersonville site than expected.

Stamey said that may cause the construction of the TCAT facility to run behind, plus “You’re also dealing with the state, and they move slower,” he said.