Living facility plan appears back on

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The developer who sought to place a much-discussed assistedliving facility on the corner of Monticello Street and WhitworthAvenue may have found a new option, Mayor Les Bumgarner told theBrookhaven Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.

Developer Gayle Evans had first pitched the idea of putting anassisted living facility downtown on the corner lot destroyed by afire on May 24, 2007 to aldermen last year, only to meet with greatresistance. Parking was an issue, as well as general chagrin amongmembers of the board because they weren’t sure if the spot wasappropriate for what Evans pitched as a five-story residentialfacility.

Then Evans’ health held up discussion for a while longer, andtalks of the project seemed to have come to a standstill.

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“Mr. Evans is working on a similar project with a betterlocation and better parking,” Bumgarner said. “It’s downtown, andit looks like it might be a go.”

Bumgarner said Evans is eyeing some property on MonticelloStreet across from the Inez building, a spot that should fit thelogistics and needs of an assisted living facility even better thanthe burned-out Whitworth-Monticello corner.

“This really solves the parking problem and they’re right acrossfrom the Inez restaurant,” the mayor said. “All indications arethat he’s going to do this. He’s definitely making steps.”

Meanwhile, Bumgarner said the city still has no say in what willgo at the site of the downtown fire.

“It’s private property and they’ll either have to do somethingwith it or sell it to someone and they’ll do something with it,” hesaid. “The city really doesn’t have any control over that.”

In other business, aldermen discussed adopting the plan forinsurance that they discussed at the budget work session lastThursday, but decided to recess the meeting so they could discussit more at the next budget hearing, which will be held Thursday.Tuesday night’s meeting will be reconvened then.

Aldermen decided last Thursday to continue paying 100 percent ofthe coverage for city employees, but to put a $450 per month cap ondependent coverage. The move would mean city employees would haveto cover any amount over the $450 a month.

Insurance coverage for dependents of city employees currentlyruns $971.90 a month, plus around $50 for dental. Of the city’s 158employees, 38 carry dependent coverage at this point, aldermensaid.

But Ward Five Alderman D.W. Maxwell said he had wanted quotes ona $25,000 life insurance policy for city employees figured into thenumbers before they were voted on, and Ward Two Alderman TerryBates was against voting on them Tuesday night because they were abudget item. Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson said she hadn’tunderstood the discussion to have been closed on the insurance atlast Thursday night’s meeting.

“I can’t have open enrollment if we don’t have insurance tooffer them,” City Clerk Mike Jinks said, explaining again that openenrollment begins Sept. 1, and numbers have to be available to putin a letter to send out to city employees.

City Public Works Director Steve Moreton also updated aldermenon some city projects that are currently in the works, as well asfilling them in advancements with the National Flood InsuranceProgram.

Moreton also asked aldermen to go ahead and turn in any propertythat needs cleaning so his office can start the process of alertingowners.