By Erin Smith
The building which formerly housed Jessup Motors and others in Elizabethtown is now a memory. The building is being torn down by the town to make way for a new fire department and rescue building.
The age of the building is uncertain, but Town Manager Eddie Madden said the town has photographs that show the building as far back as the 1940s. The building had been remodeled a few times through the years.
As one looks around the site, a modular unit that once housed the sales department is still on the lot as is the fence to the former salvage yard and an Ok Used Cars sign. Madden said the Town Council has declared the former sales office as surplus but will likely use it as a construction office. The future of the used car sign is up to the company performing the demolition work, said Madden.
The construction of a new fire and rescue station is being funded by a Disaster Recovery Grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation. Madden said the cost of the new building is estimated to be $1.5 million.
Madden said the need for a new building came about because of the damage the Elizabethtown Rescue Squad building suffered during Hurricane Matthew. Madden said the rescue squad did not have the means to purchase a new building or to pay rent to the town.
He said the town offered the rescue squad space in the current fire station as a solution. Madden said the rescue squad is currently utilizing office space and space for their trucks.
Madden said, when the town was searching for a workable solution for the rescue squad, it was determined that sharing a building was beneficial for both the fire department and the rescue squad; however, there was a need for more space.
The town purchased the former Jessup Motors facility from Gene Anderson. Initial plans called for demolition of about 85 percent of the building and to renovate the remaining section. Madden said as plans were progressing it was discovered there was lead-based paint in the section earmarked for renovation. Madden said it was cost prohibitive to remove the lead-based and the Town Council voted at their May meeting to move forward with demolition of the entire building and construct a completely new building.
Old Fields Construction of Fayetteville is handling the demolition of the building which is estimated to cost the town about $101,000. Madden said the building was originally supposed to be demolished for less than that but asbestos shingles were found to be on the roof which increased the cost of the demolition due to the asbestos abatement.
The construction of the new building is expected to be completed by December 2019. Madden said the future plan for the existing fire station calls for Public Works to move their office space there and use the existing Public Works building for a garage.