The Board of Mayor and Aldermen took a major step toward the renovation and additions to the current city hall when they voted on first reading to accept the lone bid of nearly $4.1 million from Baron Construction, LLC at the Oct. 21 meeting.
The bid included an alternate bid for a generator which will provide power for a shelter at city hall, if a disaster such as a tornado should occur. The project is expected to take 330 days to complete and will double the space at city hall.
A large portion of the construction costs includes work site improvements such as parking lots and redoing streets around city hall to make access safer and make traffic flow more efficiently.
The project will be funded 50 percent from general funds, 25 percent from the water department and 25 percent from the gas department. According to Finance Director Doug Yoeckel, there is $570,000 left from what was earmarked from a previous bond for city hall.
There are several ways to finance the project, which must be decided at the next meeting. Yoeckel suggested obtaining a $3 million bond which would be the most cost efficient amount to acquire. The extra money from the bond over what is needed for city hall could include projects such as a city museum, the police department, airport, and continued work on the Gateview Road.
Yoeckel said that getting the bond in January would be the best time because the city would be getting a bond to continue the water/sewer projects at that time.
Alderman Mike Hall called upon the public to offer input before the final vote next month.
Yoeckel said that the project will continue the effort to bring the downtown together and back to life. He added that having most of the departments under one roof will make for a more efficient work environment by having the ability to communicate face to face.
The size of the chamber will have approximately 60 seats for visitors who come to meetings. Currently, at many meetings people have to stand in the lobby outside the chamber and crowd around the doors to hear what is going on or watch the live television feed in the lobby.
The new renovated city hall will have several safety features which have been needed for some time. Bullet proof glass will be installed in some areas. There will be limited access to certain areas, also for safety.