McComb officials are working getting on much-needed repairs for the State Theater, as well as minor repairs to the downtown parking garage.

Zoning, planning and permits director Henry Green and structural engineer Jeff Laird gave updates to the city board Tuesday night.

Officials are expected to vote next Tuesday to allow Laird Engineering to inspect the theater, which loses insurance coverage due to its condition next Wednesday.

Green said city administrator Ebony Ross — who resigned last week without the city ever publicly acknowledging the move, even after holding three tense meetings on the matter — was supposed to speak with the insurance company to see about securing an extension on the policy since “a structural engineer is involved.” 

Lockley said he would get in touch with Insurance & Risk Managers agent Bill Garner about that.

Green told the board that Laird looked at the downtown parking garage on Feb. 4, and listed two areas that needed attention within the next year — a three-inch crack on a beam that supports the ramp as well as some missing concrete.

Even though repairs needed to be made, Green said parking is still safe on the upper floor, but gatherings could present a liability issue.

“He did say it was OK to park on. He said there shouldn’t be any live loads on the parking garage (upper level), being people’s pounds per square inch heavier than vehicles are,” Green said.

When asked when would be a good time for the next inspection, Laird suggested that if the city fixes the issues by the end of the year, he would take another look.

The issue originated when co-owners of a new downtown bistro asked if they could lease the top section of the garage for valet parking on weekends. City officials said they were willing to allow it if the upper section is still safe for use.

The board asked the mayor to get with the board attorney, who was unable to attend, to draft a contract for the bistro to use the garage and asked Green to monitor the issues and look into getting them repaired.

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Meanwhile, Green said a major snag in the form of asbestos could throw a wrench into the city’s plan to demolish 11 properties that were condemned late last year.

Green said he and a contractor took 97 samples in the 11 properties that were scheduled for demolition and sent those off for testing. Green said the contractor Joe Drapala told him that he believed nine of the 11 had asbestos.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Joe has been doing this for a long time, and he said most of the houses contained asbestos,” Green said. “There are two that possibly don’t contain it, and the cost to demo asbestos is out the roof, so we are looking at not being able to demo all 11.” 

He said the two homes that are not expected to have asbestos would take up 75% of the budget by themselves, which leaves the city with little money to get the other nine done after the price hike associated with demolishing a building with asbestos.

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