The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

City Hall not moving fast, thanks to mounting costs


September 27, 2017

The City of Sweet Home is in a holding pattern on its new City Hall building while it seeks funding to remodel the building.

Scott Edwards Architecture of Portland completed conceptual plans for the new building during the spring. City Manager Ray Towry said that in June the architect provided a project estimate of $1.1 million, which tallies out to $120.44 per square foot.

The city has about $304,000 in its Building Reserve Fund, with another $80,000 to be transferred from the General Fund this fiscal year, 2017-18, Towry said.

Meanwhile the city has listed for sale the site of the former Public Works and Water Treatment Plant facilities for $349,000. The 1.29-acre property is located at the north end of 9th Avenue, at 17309 9th, overlooking the South Santiam River.

The city is awaiting the sale of the property and additional funding so it can move forward with the project, Towry said. He said the city has received one offer on the property so far. The offer was low, about half of the asking price.

The city purchased the former Forest Service building, 3225 Main St., for $750,000 in July 26 using money from the Building Reserve Fund.

When considering whether to purchase the building, city councilors had discussed remodeling costs of $300,000 to $400,000. Informal estimates from two contractors put the minimum cost at $240,000 to $324,000 to make the building useful again.

Former Councilor Jeff Goodwin said when the council approved spending earnest money on the purchase in May 2016 that $300,000 to $400,000 would be a substantial savings if remodeling costs were that low.

At the time, he said he would be comfortable if remodeling costs reached $1 million, noting that replacing City Hall where it is could cost more than $3 million.

An appraisal report said that after repairs and remodeling, the property could be worth $1.34 million.

The 12,700-square-foot building was constructed in 1989 for use by the U.S. Forest Service as the Sweet Home Ranger District headquarters. An appraisal noted minor issues, including a problem with the building’s vapor barrier and clogged gutters, and placed the value of the building at $780,000 a little more than a year ago.

The existing City Hall opened in 1954. City officials say that the current 9,000-square-foot structure, at 1140 12th Ave., has a number of problems, ranging from rot in the walls and mold, due to improper sealing when windows were replaced in the 1970s, to leakage in both the basement and the roof, and softening of concrete blocks.


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