Red Cross appears ready to move; senior citizens may get extra space

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A move could allow two agencies to expand their existing space to serve the community.

Bullitt Fiscal Court and the American Red Cross appear poised to sign a new lease. The Bullitt/Spencer County service center would move from Frank E. Simon Avenue to the former Bullitt County EMS building on Saltwell Court.

That would allow the expansion of space currently being used by the senior citizens of Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency.

Both agencies are paying $1 per year to lease space in the Frank E. Simon building from county government.

Mike Crenshaw, executive director of the Bullitt/Spencer County service center, said that he was approached by the county about moving locations. Since that time, the Red Cross solicited bids to rewire the Saltwell Court building for internet access.

The deadline to notify the contractors will be Oct. 1.

Bullitt Fiscal Court met on Monday to discuss the possibilities.

Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts said she hoped a decision could be made immediately to allow the process to begin.

However, county attorney Monica Robinson said there must be a few things done first before a final document was ready.

First, she said the current four-year lease between the parties must be voided. That could be done at the Oct. 2 fiscal court meeting.

Second, a new lease must be drawn and fiscal court members must advise her on any changes.

Crenshaw said any changes to the lease would need approval by the national Red Cross officials.

He said knowing the exact date that the new lease would take effect was not as important as having the ability to tell the contractors that the project would be moving forward.

The Red Cross would take up the entire building.

In looking at the deed for the land donated to the county by Thomas Givhan in the 1980s, Robinson said the key is that it must continue to  operate for public use. She found nothing wrong with the Red Cross leasing the property.

With a larger tract, Robinson said the Red Cross would lease the building and the parking lot. The county would retain claim to the sheriff’s department tow-in storage lot.

To get the facility ready for leasing, the parking lot would be paved, at an estimated cost of $7,000.

Magistrate Joe Laswell said he was told that the vinyl floors, a couple of windows and worn carpet must be replaced or repaired. Building representative Rudy Hawkins reminded magistrates that the county’s insurance carrier, KACO, may require a security alarm system and a way to notify authorities in case on a fire.

Roberts’ office was put in charge of making sure the repairs are completed. The work was estimated to cost around $2,000.

Hawkins said he just wanted fiscal court members to know that the insurance carrier could require the alarm systems.

Roberts said she would coordinate the repairs and may use some the skilled trades in the Bullitt County Jail.

Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh inquired whether the Spencer County portion of the partnership contributed to the financial affairs of the agency.

Crenshaw said the two advisory committee members from Spencer County resigned and replacements are currently being sought.

No financial support is given by Spencer County government.

Hawkins said part of the former EMS building is being used for storage of documents. It would take 2-3 weeks to move those to another location.

Roberts said that with both emergency agencies seeking more space, options were studied.

With EMS currently being housed across the street on Saltwell Drive, Roberts said it was important to have the two agencies so close together.

She supports the desire of the Red Cross to have more space and she also supported the request of the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency for more space in the back of the Frank E. Simon building.

Once the new lease with the Red Cross is signed, Roberts said she would support allowing the senior citizens programs to expand in the Frank E. Simon Building. No other tenants have expressed a desire to lease that facility.