Portland City Council took a step back to look at the recently renovated shirt factory on West Market Street for the future home of Portland City Hall. In April, the city purchased property on Highway 52 West near Searcy Lane from Larry Collins for $450,000 for the relocation of city hall.
At the June 26 BOMA work study session, Alderman John Kerley said that he had had many people in the community make comments against moving city hall from the downtown area.
On July 3, Kerley again suggested that city hall remain downtown because there was a big push to revitalize the downtown area.
Mayor Ken Wilber told the council that if they decided to stay in the present city hall there would be a need to make improvements. He mentioned that the bathrooms need work, water blows in the front door when it rains, and there are safety issues.
City Recorder Doug Yoeckel said that the offices in the present building were not efficient - that it took lots of footsteps to get things done. He added that the building did not flow well and told the council even with improvements at the present building that the city will out grown the building and would be bursting at the seams in four to five years.
Yoeckel added that when he looked at the new floor plans drawn up, his concern was not the way the building looked from the outside but how efficient the inside was for conducting city business.
After a discussion of the cost of building on the purchased site, the discussion turned to the possibilities of buying the recently renovated shirt factory. The shirt factory would have enough floor space for city hall plus the police department. There would be additional space for a large meeting room. In addition, Yoeckel said that it would revitalize the area where it is located. The council indicated they would like to tour the shirt factory building to visualize the possibilities.
Mayor Wilber said that there were several possibilities for the bond money, if a new city hall was not built. Those possibilities were to use the bond money for the maintenance building, improvements in the police department building, improvements in the present city hall, and completing the Gateway road project.
The council members will study the possibilities, tour the shirt factory building, and listen to the citizens. It is expected to be on the agenda for the next work study session on July 17.