The city of Paris is seeking reimbursement after spending nearly $19,000 on fencing around the historic First National Bank building in downtown Paris.
“A year or more ago, the city’s Building Standards Commission ordered David Alarid [the owner of the building] to repair the building and secure the exterior due to failures both of the roof and in his basement under the public sidewalks,” said Paris City Manager John Godwin. “When he did not secure the area, for fear of people being hurt – we have had large pieces of concrete fall off to the sidewalk – we fenced it in to keep pedestrians out.”
Last week, the city decided to build a new, more permanent fence around the building, having rented a chainlink fence and spent nearly $5,000 so far. That new fence, Jerry McDaniels of the Public Works Department said, cost the city nearly $14,000.
“Because the chain link fence was so unsightly and we were renting it, and also because we see no short-term end to the safety issues, I decided to put a better looking and more secure fence up,” Godwin said. “I hate our downtown looking like it does on that corner, and we were spending a lot on that rental every month.”
Altogether, the city has so far paid nearly $19,000 total for renting the fence, and now putting up a more permanent one. Godwin said the city routinely bills Alarid for the cost of the fence, but to date, he has not reimbursed the city. Alarid, however, said he has heard nothing about a fence.
“The city did not inform me about it,” Alarid said. “No doubt they will put up a fence and then claim it was necessary and try to bill me for it when the city is the one that refuses to repair the sidewalk that belongs to them and not to me.”
The sidewalk, according to McDaniels, is owned by Alarid.
“That sidewalk is actually the roof of his basement,” McDaniels said. “He is responsible for it, not the city.”