The Paris City Council unanimously approved spending up to $19,000 to help get a vacant industrial building located at 732 South Elm St. ready for occupancy.
That vote was taken at a special meeting held on Monday, July 21 at the Municipal Building. Five of the city’s six Aldermen were present. Alderman Bret Sullivan, City Clerk Mary Sullivan and City Attorney Cory Wells were on vacation and couldn’t attend, Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers said.
Dr. Lee Lane, chair of the Paris Economic Development Council, had requested the funds during the Monday, July 7 regular meeting of the Paris City Council. When no action was taken then, Rogers said he would call a special meeting in two weeks to take up the matter again.
The building, which used to house a clothing factory, was vacated in 2008 when KAT Manufacturing closed its doors. Bill Elsken of Paris, told the Aldermen the Logan County Industrial Development organization has reached a "handshake" agreement to sell the building to a business that will move here. Lane said some things need to be done to it to get it ready for occupancy.
"The sellers will have to repair the sprinkler system and the plan to get that done," she told Aldermen. "The buyer is going to have to spend about $98,000 before they can occupy the building. We’re asking the city to spend $19,000 to clean it up. The drop ceilings have to be replaced. Heaters have to be replaced and the lights have to be replaced."
Rogers told Aldermen the city will get bids before doing any work and that work will not begin until the buyer and seller have an agreement in writing.
Lane said the buyer plans to use about 17,000 square feet of the building. Lane added that another 4,000 square feet will be used by the Paris School District and Arkansas Tech University’s Ozark Campus as a job training center. The building has about 60,000 square feet.
Paris School Superintendent Wayne Fawcett said the educational part of the building would be used to train students for jobs and could be used in the future to train adults or retrain a company’s existing employees.
"We need a place to do this," Fawcett said. "We don’t have a site and we don’t have the capability to build one. For the people buying the building, it would be the perfect place to train their employees. This also has the potential to train adults. GED training could be done at this site. It could also eventually be used as a re-training site for a company’s existing employees."
Aldermen expressed enthusiasm for the project before voting on it. The meeting took 34 minutes.