What should the City do with the City Hall Building?
The future of our City Hall building...
I and the City Commission are looking for your thoughts and opinions on this important issue. The City Hall building was designed for a 1925 operation and has outgrown its ability to meet the needs of a 2025 operation. Over the years, the building has come to house City Hall, Municipal Court, the Fire Station, and the Police Department, and the public use side of the building has been closed.
The City decided about 15 years ago to look at a joint facility with the County, but that direction was voted down in 2017. The County has proceeded with its own facility, and the City initiated a building study to determine at the bare minimum how the Police Department and Municipal Court could be made more safe and secure and brought up to code, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The City Engineer began the study and then sent this letter (linked/pictured here) to the City asking for further direction... We have asked the firm to pause its study to give the community time to help us here.
At this time, I think there are four general directions we could pursue. Below are my thoughts on them, and I hope to hear yours.
1. Do Nothing: This might be a good strategy because anything that we do will invoke expensive alterations to bring the building into compliance. It might be best not to do anything until we absolutely have to.
2. Demolish the building: This may be inevitable in the years to come, and it might be cost effective to raze the building and start over than to continue spending money on repairs and short-term fixes.
3. Make do: It might make sense to continue with the City's current plan, which is to make adjustments and just keep making it work. While this option is getting more expensive, this might be the only choice if we cannot agree on what we want to do with the building.
4. Re-purpose the building: It might be possible to return the building to community use -- this could happen through a private investor buying the building or the community choosing to re-purpose the space for public use -- a few ideas that I have heard are making it a performing arts center, convention hall, or a community meeting and event space. This option would require relocating City operations -- with public safety likely requiring a new facility and administrative offices possibly being able to move to another downtown location.
The building holds many cherished memories and it will require work to maintain it, bring it into compliance, and get the best use out of it in the years to come. There appears to be no easy answers on this one, and I appreciate your help thinking this through. Please take the survey and share your thoughts.
Thank you, Austin Gilley, City Manager