Emergency repairs on the way for Prattville's historic cotton gi - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Emergency repairs on the way for Prattville's historic cotton gin

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PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

Tommy Newton calls it dire, an emergency and is surprised it hasn't happened already. "We've been told we're fortunate the roof hasn't collapsed by now," said Newton.

The beam supporting the roof in one of the buildings on the old cotton gin manufacturing property is on its last leg. The rotting beam is just below a huge hole on the building facing west.

Newton heads up the Historic Prattville Redevelopment Authority. HPRA will accept bids Monday afternoon from contractors to replace the beam; public money used for emergency work on private property.. Newton says HPRA has that authority. Since public money is being used a public hearing is set for Monday afternoon at 4 at the Prattville Chamber of Commerce.

"We have the right to go in and assist property owners if it's a matter of public benefit. We have the right to assist developers for economic development and tourism," said Newton.

Meantime, two developers continue to look at the property. Longstreet Capital out of Georgia and another group in Texas. Both have similar plans to turn the buildings into loft apartments.

Most of the buildings on the 32 acre site predate the Civil War. In short, they're old. It's the main reason why any real progress has taken much longer than expected.

"It's a development process. It often costs more and longer than you think," said Newton.

The emergency repairs will cost around $35,000. As to when the selected contractor can begin his job, Newton says 'the sooner the better.'

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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