Demolition of the old First National Bank Texas building on North Gray Street and the asbestos removal that preceeds it is scheduled to begin in weeks as Bell County officials prepare to build an annex on the north Killeen property.
“The acceptance of the donation of the property from the former First National Bank Texas is conditional upon the city’s acceptance of a bid to demolish the entire building complex, removal of the asbestos-containing material and the entire building complex,” according to city documents. “First National Bank Texas plans to donate its former bank property and parking lots to the city of Killeen to be demolished (and) removed, and to make way for a new Bell County building complex … to bring new life into the downtown Killeen area.”
During a workshop on Tuesday, Killeen City Council members will review a $618,700 bid from AAR Incorporated of Houston for asbestos removal and demolition.
“In preparation for this (project), the City Council recently approved the removal of the property” from the historical overlay district through Ordinance 22-046 on June 28.
Deadline to demolish
City staff members have recommended the City Council approve the bid during its Sept. 13 meeting, with asbestos abatement and demolition scheduled to be “substantially completed” by Dec. 12. Through an interlocal agreement with Bell County, the city must raze the building by Dec. 31.
In July, Bell County Commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with Killeen in a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Russell Schneider opposing. The agreement gives the county shovel-ready land at 507 N. Gray St. for the construction of a more than 30,000-square-foot county government annex building within three years of receipt of the property. The new county annex will replace the current annex on Priest Drive in Killeen.
The original completion date to raze the bank building, with a budget of $10 million, was planned for August 2024. But council members have amended the agreement to shorten the deadline to Dec. 31.
Killeen officials initially set aside $300,000 to demolish the building.
According to the Bell County Appraisal District, the assessed value on the Gray Street site is almost $2 million. Built in 1970, the bank building is about 40,000 square feet on 1.7 acres.
The demolition will include removing most of the objects on the property, including parking lots, some sidewalks, curb stops, electrical devices, and gas piping, signs, bases and planters, flagpole, railing and walkways. However, according to city documents, an old oak tree on the property will remain.
The new annex building in downtown Killeen is expected to house the vehicle registration office and other Bell County government offices. The bank is gifting the vacant building to the city, which has agreed to demolish it so Bell County can construct the new building on the same property.
According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, asbestos is a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that’s mined and milled from native rock.
But asbestos can enter the environment from weathered natural mineral deposits and fiber releases from manmade products. It is commonly found in floor tiles, roof shingles, cement, automotive brakes and electrical, plumbing, acoustical and structural insulation applications.
People exposed to asbestos “may develop a slow build-up of scar-like tissue in the lungs called ‘asbestosis,’” according to the state health department. “This scarred tissue state impairs the ability of the lungs and heart to adequately provide oxygen to the body. This is a serious disease, and can eventually lead to disability or death in people exposed to high amounts of asbestos.”
Exposure can also lead to lung cancer.
Other agenda items
The City Council workshop meeting is set for 5 p.m. at City Hall, 101 N. College St. Other items on the workshop agenda include:
Consider a memorandum and resolution approving an amendment to the Hill Country Transit District interlocal agreement.
Discuss hosting a public hearing on the proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2022-23.
- Consider an ordinance adopted the fiscal year 2022-23 budget.
- Consider a memorandum and resolution ratifying the property tax revenue increase reflected in the annual budget for fiscal year 2022-23.
- Consider an ordinance setting a tax rate of $0.6233 per $100 valuation, comprised of $0.4656 for maintenance and operations and $0.1577 for debt service for fiscal year 2022-23.
- Consider an ordnance amending commercial solid waste rates.
- Consider an ordinance amending water, sewer and sewage-disposal commercial water rates.
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