‘It was a good piece of equipment’

August 20, 2013

Forty-nine years is normally time for a celebration.

For any person to serve the city that long, there would be a proclamation read at a LaGrange City Council meeting. The mayor and corresponding department head would say nice words. There’d be a pin, attached to the good and faithful servant by a smiling spouse or significant other. At one point, there may even be a party. There could be cake.

The 1964 Caterpillar motor grader has outlasted a number of city employees, more than a few council members, and a number of marriages, but no such celebration is planned for the machine.

Council voted to declare the equipment surplus – along with a list of other items and sell it on a government website. If no one wants it, it will be sold for scrap. In the meantime, it sits at the city’s concrete plant, transmission removed, waiting out its perhaps final days.

“It was a good piece of equipment,” said David Brown, public works director.

“When I came to work here in 1985 there were still 7 miles of dirt streets,” Brown said. “The motor grader was used to keep those streets smooth and passable. It has also been used in the fine grading of construction projects, at the landfill, and snow and ice removal since I came to work here.”

Ronnie Cantrell, public works manager for LaGrange, said the machine was used at the landfill until 2007 when the transmission died and the cost to repair it outweighed its value.

Although it was made well before the development of the Internet, it now will go on the website and wait to see if anyone wants it for anything other than scrap.