Convention Hall building to be demolished


Chris McCarthy/Messenger

Gadsden’s Convention Hall has been shuttered for several years, and this week crews are finalizing the long process of remediating and demolishing the diseased building.

The Gadsden City Council awarded the bid to demolish the building last month after having ordered a hazardous material survey in January. The topic of demolishing the old Convention Hall building has been one of public discussion since 2018.

Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford won his office with approximately 63 percent of the vote, and demolishing Convention Hall to make way for riverfront development was one of his main campaign platform points. Since taking office in November, he has publicly discussed this goal in news interviews, video updates and other announcements.

City officials recently entered the building ahead of the pending demolition and reported mold as overwhelming the building to the point of irrevocable disrepair. As an occupational safety and health hazard — and with asbestos throughout the 90-year-old structure — it was determined that demolition was the preferred solution.

“I understand that people have fond memories of this building, because I do too,” Ford said. “Some of my best memories are from events at Convention Hall. That is nostalgia, and I get it. However, when the people of Gadsden elected a new mayor and city council last fall, they asked us to paint a bold vision for Gadsden’s future.

“Allowing a diseased, vacant structure to stand in decay for the sake of memories is not the path toward a prosperous future in Gadsden,” Ford continued. “Now that the site is cleared, we can reimagine the highest and best use for this prime riverfront property. This site will be a key component of the city’s first comprehensive plan in half a century, which we are currently developing.

“Together, we can create a future that breathes life into our community,” Ford said. “Clearing this site creates a blank canvas, and with a little vision it doesn’t take long to imagine the possibilities of what this location can become.”

Submitted by City of Gadsden Public Affairs Coordinator Michael Rodgers.

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