Historians upset over old jail

Published 12:05 am Friday, April 12, 2013

Commissioners allowed an impromptu discussion on the possibility of demolishing the old Covington County Jail after social media rumors drew ire from Covington County Historical Society members.

Commissioners deviated from their agenda and allowed CCHS member Sue Bass Wilson three minutes to speak.

Wilson, who was among several CCHS members present, said a discussion on the social media site Facebook posed the question “Should the Covington County Commission vote to demolish this historic building located behind the Covington County Courthouse? What would you propose proper use of this building to be? Sound off Facebook.”

Wilson said she “heard through the grapevine” that the project could become a reality; however, Chairman Bill Godwin said the commission had not discussed the project.

“I don’t want to see Andalusia lose another historic building,” Bass said. “There were 50 to 60 comments posted during the first 30 minutes (opposing tearing the building down). Less than 10 years ago, the historical society spent $40,000 to put a new roof on and rehabilitation work.”

The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Wilson said.

Godwin said the commission would like to work with the CCHS in future plans for the building and urged Wilson to have the matter put on the agenda for a later meeting.

In other business, the commission:

• tabled discussion on changing its meeting times and discontinuing workshops. Under Alabama law, commissions are required to meet twice a month. County attorney Julie Moody must now determine if a workshop meets the legal definition of a meeting.


• renewed a contract with Southern Health Partners to provide medical services in the jail.

• reappointed Richard Merrell to the Covington Water Authority Board and announced the terms of Sheriff Dennis Meeks and Bragg Carter on the E-911 Board are set to expire May 31. Commissioners announced all board positions will be announced a month prior to the seat’s vacancy, and those interested in serving on a county board should contact the administration office.

• transferred the district 4 shop property to the Town of Red Level and donated a surplus sheriff’s car to the Town of Lockhart;

• approved three in-kind service projects and set a policy for approving future requests;

• awarded a bid to the Andalusia and Florala Farmer’s Co-Ops for feed and seed; and,

• voted to allow payroll deduction for uniform services for any road department employee interested.