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This building on Alabama 67 was damaged in a fire more than a decade ago and has been vacant since and fallen into disrepair.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
This building on Alabama 67 was damaged in a fire more than a decade ago and has been vacant since and fallen into disrepair.

Owners hoping to remodel old building at Priceville

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com 340-2438

PRICEVILLE — The vacant building at Alabama 67 and Speegle Street stands stark against the backdrop of Priceville progress along the town's main entry.

The wide eaves are crumbling. A commode sits against the east wall and a concrete slab at the west end is the remnant of a fire that destroyed a furniture production company during the 1980s.

The block building has a brick front. A row of glass doors and windows once reflected businesses in five office suites. The other reminder that business once lived here is a fading sign on poles out front listing "Lois Wedding and Gift Gallery."

Some consider the building an example of community blight. Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran is not among them.

"A blight on the community?" Duran said of the empty building.

"That's some people's opinion. It's not the prettiest building in town, but it can be fixed up where it'll look real nice. We have people all the time coming through here that are looking to put in different types of business."

Owners Robert and Roselle Livingston, who live nearby, envision returning the building to pre-fire days.

But she said Monday that she and her husband are not in good health and that they won't do anything immediately.

"We're in the process of trying to figure out what we can and can't do," she said. "We want to try to remodel (the building) and get it back into service. That's what we plan to do."

J.B. Mathews and his wife, Kay, rent a building from the Livingstons between the empty structure and the Livingstons' residence, where they operate USA New & Used Tires. Mathews said he began renting his space in December 2003 and has worked to improve it.

"I offered to buy it about two weeks ago but (Robert Livingston) never put a price on it," Mathews said.

Duran said he recalls Livingston and Bill Fulmer running a tire store in the west end of the building before Donald Poole took it over and converted it to the furniture plant that burned.

"He said he believes the five suites would be ideal for businesses such as a shoe store, an insurance office or a real estate office. He recalls a plumbing business being there.

"It's a perfect location," he said. "I think (the Livingstons) will fix it up. They're losing revenue."

Duran said he did not believe that the Livingstons are violating any ordinances.

"I wouldn't think the old building is dilapidated or run down, but it looks bad," he said. "It just needs some cosmetics. The Town Council condemned a burned-out house a couple of years ago because it was falling down and was a safety hazard."

He added, "Basically, progress cleans cities up. We've come a long way here. There's always room for improvement. There's never a perfect world."

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