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30 years and still constructin'; Local man preserving the future

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Ferris City Hall Construction from this past week at various stages of improvements. Currently, workers are ripping up old flooring from Assistant to City Manager Sholanda Nelson’s office.  Inset: Old pull tab Dr. Pepper can discovered by construction cre Ferris City Hall Construction from this past week at various stages of improvements. Currently, workers are ripping up old flooring from Assistant to City Manager Sholanda Nelson’s office. Inset: Old pull tab Dr. Pepper can discovered by construction cre

FERRIS -  Thirty years ago, Tommy James worked on preserving an old train depot into a showcase for everyone to cherish, the showcase, was his work converting “ a brick shell” into a workable office for city administrators.

James was one of the contractors hired out by the city to renovate Ferris City Hall.

Thirty years later, he’s back and working harder than ever. 

“I am happy to be part of remodeling the new offices for the city,” said James.

Last August, council approved $21,000 during their annual budget for the renovations. 

By moving the council chambers to the new building on 6th Street, city hall will now be able to house more of its employees under one roof, making it easier for City Manager Eric Strong to manage.

“ We are moving Code Enforcement Tim Rawlings, Economic Development Director Chuck Dart, Information and Technology Director Doug Childers and Public Works Director Charlie Joe James,” said Strong.

“For two of them, we were renting space.  One of them sat at the water counter, and the other was at the public works yard.  We don’t have any definite plans for the office at the public works yard that will be vacated.”

While James is glad to be part of the new renovations and keeping part of the history in a building alive, he didn’t have any tricks up his sleeve like some did.

While moving the council chambers out, workers found an old pull- tab Dr. Pepper can buried underneath some cabinets or into the flooring, depending on which worker you ask.

“That was old Joe Chapman, it has his signature all over it, “ said James.

“He was always drinking those things.”

  Chapman did the podium work and most cabinets along with Robert Bent 30 years ago.

Work on the new offices are expected to be completed by next Friday, July 8.

What’s James favorite recollection of work done in the past? 

“I’ve slept since then,” laughed James.


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