“City Hall is a symbol,” said Renata St. Lawrence, who spoke on City Hall’s behalf at the Wednesday City Council meeting. “When that symbol disappears, part of your city will disappear with it. Perception is everything.”
The City Hall building, located at 112 S. Osceola Avenue in downtown Clearwater, was built in the 1960’s and is in need of repair. It needs carpet, elevator and roofing repairs and renovations. Additionally, part of the building has been slowly sinking, making the building “lop-sided.” (The condition is monitored, and is not dangerous).
Because of these factors, the City had planned on tearing down the current City Hall and building a new one. However, once the economic and political climate shifted, they were unable to do so.
The price tag for the repairs and renovations of the City Hall building sat at $500,000. The building costs $300,000 a year to maintain. So at a recent work session, the city council considered closing the building to save money, and proposed relocating various city departments into other city facilities.
City Hall would have been moved two blocks up the street, into the second floor of the Main Library, using approximately 90,000 square feet to accommodate the city council, city manager, city attorney and city clerk. The Departments of Housing and Economic Development would have moved to the Municipal Services Building on Myrtle Avenue. That would have bumped the Parks and Recreations offices, which are located in the Municipal Services Building, to the Long Center.
Instead of saving money by demolishing City Hall, the city council will be saving money by adding the City Hall building to the series of buildings scheduled to be fitted with modern, energy-efficient lighting, air-conditioning, and other equipment. The work is being done by Honeywell.