City Hall, located in the heart of The Little City at 300 Park Ave., is in need of renovations. Public safety -- police, sheriff, courts, and jail -- is the primary concern tied in with visitor and staff safety. City Hall houses the police department, sheriff’s office, and the court -- not a common set up in our area. Accessibility, wayfinding, stormwater compliance, water intrusion mitigation, energy efficiency, and staff space needs are also concerns. These renovations will meet City Hall's needs for at least 20 years.
What Renovations are Needed?
In short, the renovations will create or improve Public Safety, ADA Accessibility, and Visitor Convenience through five main concepts, as listed below.
Secured One-Level Parking Garage
A garage behind City Hall could offer parking for police, sheriff, and courts to allow for secured prisoner and weapon transport.
Central Front Entrance
The building currently lacks a centralized entrance and receptionist, so visitors are often confused about how to reach their destination. Multiple entrances are not a safety best practice. A central entrance would address the safety concerns, provide clear paths through the building, and include information like a daily list of meetings.
Building Code and ADA Renovations
There are a number of renovations needed to comply with the building code and update for ADA accessibility, including creating shelter-in-place locations for the public and staff; upgrading electrical, sprinklers, plumbing, and ADA; replacing the 60 year-old HVAC; and replacing the generator.
A Short History of City Hall
Built in 1957, City Hall was last renovated in 1986 when the East Wing was added. It is a central gathering place that hosts over 400 community meetings every year. Weekly City Council, Planning Commission, and School Board meetings and court proceedings are held in City Hall. The city’s major community events like the weekly, year-round Farmers Market, Memorial Day, and Fall Festival are held in City Hall’s parking lot.
A majority of city employees work in City Hall; most others are at the Property Yard (7100 Gordon Rd.), the Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave.), Community Center (223 Little Falls St.), Cherry Hill Farmhouse and Gage house, all of which shares the campus and parking lot with City Hall.
An additional $5.25 million for additional public safety renovations in the existing building and rear expansion, HVAC renovations in the West Wing, and a second story on the Police/Courts garage was approved in the FY2016 CIP.