Heated debate in Monroe County leaves one building in limbo

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – Tear it down or clean it up?

That’s the question with no real answer in sight.

Aberdeen and Monroe County leaders met Friday to decide the fate of the old Holly Performance building.

After a heated exchange the board of supervisors president walked out and a deal for someone to buy the building was in limbo.

“Today it is not the city board’s fault, it totally the county’s fault,” said Mayor Howard.

Aberdeen Mayor Maurice Howard’s reaction was fast and furious after Monroe County Board of Supervisors President Billy Kirkpatrick walked out of a joint meeting.

The city and county both own the old Holly Performance building.

They just can’t agree on how to go about it.

“We learned this morning this site is subject to potential Brown-Field study to assess any environmental contamination there might be, and impact on the property,”said Board Attorney David Houston.

It was the first time Kirkpatrick learned about the possible Brown-Field study.

“I’m going to put this burden on their hands because they came today unprepared to do business the way that it is supposed to be done,” said Mayor Howard.

“That’s the dilemma, whether to go through with this grant process or, whether to sell the building as is, where is,” said Houston.

Howard says the city and county just can’t find a way to agree.

This leaves Howard Harper in a tough spot. He’s been trying to buy the asbestos-filled building for about a year.

“The county for some obscene reason do not want to go follow through with the sale. Still rather look for a grant to possibly tear down the building then to allow somebody to come in and bring jobs to our community which hasn’t happened in the past 30 years,” said Mayor Howard.

It could take a year to process the grant. If it fails inspection, someone will have to pay to have the building torn down. That could carry a five or six million dollar price tag.

The meeting adjourned with no action taken after the disagreement between Howard and Kirkpatrick.

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