Wagram to replace nutrition building

Mary Katherine Murphy Staff Writer

October 3, 2013

WAGRAM — A town building used as a nutrition site for Meal on Wheels will be demolished and replaced with a new facility.

The McKay Street building, known as the Wagram Nutrition Site, is more than 70 years old and was donated to the town by the American Legion. Wagram Mayor Milton Farmer said that it has fallen into such disrepair that efforts to fix it will not be cost-effective.

“Now it’s getting to the point where it’s not in any shape for people to be using it,” said Farmer. “It’s been here quite a while and we’ve been trying to repair it and it got to the place where the roof started leaking real bad, the walls and ceiling got wet, and it’s to the point where we can’t maintain it.”

On Thursday, Wagram’s town council voted to begin the process of destroying the building and replacing it, using funds from a Community Development Block Grant.

The estimated cost of needed repairs is $156,000, with an estimated cost to reconstruct of $185,000.

“The way I look at it, we need a new building, because once we repair it we’ll still have an old building,” said council member Hyder Massey. “Now we have the opportunity to get a new building. Even though it’s a few thousand dollars more, long-term it’s going to be better.”

Currently, the building houses a Meals on Wheels program operated by the Lumber River Council of Governments. The program serves some 25 elderly Wagram area residents every weekday.

Council member Robert McLaughlin posited that a new facility may also generate revenue for the town.

“I think we could actually do more with it long term,” said McLaughlin. “A lot of people want to have parties and they have to go to Laurinburg.”

The council has yet to open the project for bidding. The Community Development Block Grant funds must be used by October 2015.

“You’ve still got to bid it, you’ve got to advertise it, the environmental assessment still has to be done, it has to be sent in and come back, so we’re still a little ways out before we even start,” said town clerk Phyllis Lowry.

The grant will also be used to build a playground outside of the Wagram Recreation Center.

In other business, the council approved the appointment of new member Paschal Stewart to replace Linda Tindall. Tindall resigned from the council at its September meeting, as she moved outside of the town limits and is no longer eligible to serve on the council.

Farmer nominated former councilman Frank Edge as well, but Stewart’s appointment was approved unanimously. Stewart, a former Wagram mayor, will fulfill Tindall’s unexpired term, which ends in 2015.