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Flowery Branch to move ahead on Mooney project
City seeking bids to remove asbestos, demolish structure
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Flowery Branch is seeking bids through Nov. 2 on removing asbestos from and tearing down the old Mooney Manufacturing Co. building off Gainesville and Main streets.

As part of the endeavor, the South Hall city plans to work with three local banks on terms for a short-term loan, which would be paid back through the city’s tax allocation district, a fund for public redevelopment projects, City Manager Bill Andrew said.

Flowery Branch has $178,620 in its TAD account now and will have $270,435 starting Jan. 1, he said.

A TAD advisory committee is set to meet Nov. 13 on the matter, which is expected to then go before Flowery Branch City Council on Nov. 15.

“We’re asking for two different bids, in effect,” Andrew said.

Companies “would be bidding on what the (abatement) cost would be and then after that, depending on the amount of money we’ve got and what we see the cost being, we would then look to award a secondary (demolition) project.”

If demolition costs are too high, “we might look at our own (staff) doing (that work) and basically hiring a trucking company to move everything off,” he said. “The thing we can’t do is the abatement — we don’t have the licensing for that.”

The project has been in the works for years.

The City Council voted in October 2009 to spend $262,500 for 7 acres at Main and Gainesville streets for the site for a future government complex.

The property includes the Mooney plant, which opened in 1936 and closed in 2002. During World War II, Mooney made ammunition containers for the armed forces.

Earlier this year, the city hired ECS Southeast to perform some 100 different tests for asbestos and lead.

Full demolition, Andrew said, would include removing concrete foundations and “sloping the area to conform with the stormwater plan,” as well as taking down an old, rusting water tower that sits at the top of Main Street overlooking the downtown area.

The asbestos removal is especially necessary because “some of the materials have to be taken down piece by piece,” Andrew said.

“We’d like to have demolition occurring in January and have the project basically done — everything seeded and straw (put down) by spring,” he said.

Overall, the completed job “will make the area look a lot better,” Andrew said.

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