Options for City Hall on the table

Over the next year, city of Sweet Home staff and councilors will start exploring options for a new City Hall.

Two years ago, the city budgeted $120,000 to pave the back parking lot at City Hall and build breezeways and covering to connect City Hall to the City Hall Annex, which houses the municipal court and council chamber.

But with City Hall filling up and possible structural problems due to age, the city did not expend the funds.

Officials will ask “what is the best, most efficient way to address that,” said City Manager Craig Martin. At this point, every space at City Hall is taken up, so rather than spend the money, staff decided the city should probably look comprehensively at its options.

“We’re having more court,” Martin said. The council chamber is used more often for jury trials, which requires time to set up and tear down.

The room is changed on a daily basis among court, council and other meetings, Martin said. Among the ideas under consideration is whether the Municipal Court would be better located in the Sweet Home Police Services Building.

When the building was constructed, Martin said, the judge serving at that time did not like the commingling of police and court operations; and the building would have been more expensive had it included a court facility.

The Finance Department, located on the main floor at City Hall, has problems with the subflooring, with the floor sloping, Martin said. The building also has problems with minor intrusions of water.

The city put a new roof on the building in 1998 or 1999, Martin said, and that will be part of the evaluation of the building.

The city will want to plan for at least 20 years of use in whatever decision is made about City Hall, Martin said. From there, the city needs to decide whether it should retain the existing structure, tear down the structure and rebuild or move.

A council subcommittee will begin looking at designs and planning, Martin said. It will take about a year to do the assessments. It’ll take two to five years before the city has real progress.

The building is OK right now, Martin said, and the discussion is preliminary.

Money has been set aside this year in case the city needs to engage the professional services of a designer, he said.