Loudon Utilities Board will have a decision to make about a small portion of the former Hutch manufacturing property when considering a demolition bid.

Barry Baker, president of the Lyric Theatre Company, approached the board May 13 about possibly using the brick building behind the water tower as a new playhouse for the group.

"We certainly encourage you to pursue the development of the riverfront," Baker said. "We would like to be part of it. So we wanted to make that officially known to you."

When asked how much money would be needed to renovate the building, Baker said the group previously estimated it could raise $350,000 for purchase of a property and believes that is still possible.

"The encouragement we had from the business community and the industrial community in the past gives us hope that we could enter into a good fundraising project to be able to accomplish that goal," he said.

The current plan for the Hutch property is to flatten every structure and begin from scratch, Don Campbell, board chairman, said. 

"That bid is on the street," Ty Ross, LUB manager, said. "It will be the remainder of the month. This Thursday there is a site meeting with perspective contractors. ... We'll see what bids come in. This is exploratory and we're excited to see what kind of bids we get and ultimately what type of contract we can recommend to this board."

Board members agreed to consider the proposal from Baker.

"We do want to present to you we think there is a viable alternative from destroying everything," Baker said. "Depending how the bids come in and fit into your plan, we would like to pursue that."

LUB will consider bids for demolition of the property in June. Bids are scheduled to be unsealed June 30.