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Work is underway at the corner of Milam and Fletcher Streets here in Jasper as a contractor for the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency tears down the building, which housed the former Neal’s Phonograph and Cigarette Service for many years.

The SRMPA, which is a power purchasing group owned by the cities of Jasper, Liberty and Livingston, recently purchased the building and the 1.237 acres of associated land for a total of $32,000 with plans of expanding it’s nearby Jason Electrical Power Substation.

All electricity to the City of Jasper passes through the station making it critical facility and during Hurricane Harvey, the waters of Sandy Creek continued to rise, coming to within a few inches of entering the control house of the station, causing great concern to the operators of the electric system who feared it might shut down interrupting power to the city.

To alleviate the threat of flooding, and a possible power outage, the operators of the system plan to build a new control house at a higher elevation that will hopefully keep the control equipment high and dry.

Cost of the project, which is expected to be complete sometime next year, is expected to cost somewhere around $800,000.

Prior to it’s use by Neal’s Phonograph and Cigarette Service, which owned and rented juke boxes, pool tables, slot machines and cigarette machines, the building housed Jasper Wholesale Grocery Distributors and later Phelan Supply. Both companies sold groceries and other merchandise to local stores and businesses.