Russellville National Guard Armory Demolished; Many Memories Remain

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Construction crews spent the day leveling the old Russellville National Guard Armory.

The armory had been part of the city's landscape for nearly six decades.

However the building sat empty for years, and the facility's deteriorating condition didn't meet city codes.

As Wallace Construction Service workers reduced the building to rubble Wednesday, the Russellville National Guard Armory building will always stand strong in the memory of veterans and community members.

“It played a very important part in wars and conflicts in history,” said Russellville mayor, David Grissom.  “We`ve had a lot of heroes pass through these doors.  It`s tough, but it`s something we felt like needed to be done.”

Mayor Grissom says the National Guard unit moved out of the building seven years ago when Russellville troops were consolidated with others in the region.

“It was kinda becoming a safety hazard in our town, we have city ordinances in place, and it really wasn`t in compliance with the city ordinances,” said Grissom.

So the mayor and city council had to face the facts.

“We looked at many different ways to rehabilitate the building, talked with numerous engineers and experts, but we felt like the cost wasn`t feasible at this time and wouldn`t be a wise use of tax payer dollars,” said Grissom.

According to Grissom, the estimated repair bill would cost more than $1.6 million.  So the city entered into a contract with an area construction company.  Wallace Construction Service officials say it won't cost more than $7,500 to tear down the building.  However, Mayor Grissom says the city won't even pay a bill that high.

Crews collected the steel from the building, and city leaders plan to sell it to a scrap yard.  The money earned will go toward the bill.  Leaders say the money from the steel will pay for more than half the project.

Crews expect to work a few more days to demolish the repair.

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