Group suggests city hall renovation

MARSHALL – A city task force focused on addressing building issues at Marshall’s city hall held its final meeting on Friday morning. The group’s recommendation to the Marshall City Council is to renovate the existing city hall instead of building new. On Friday, group members also suggested that the city consider such a project in future budgeting, as well as possibly conducting a parking study for city hall.

“It’s now up to the city council to take the recommendations and proceed in whatever direction they feel,” said group member and Marshall City Council member John DeCramer.

The committee, composed of city council members, city staff and Marshall residents, has been meeting since early this year to study building issues at city hall.

The municipal building on Main Street dates from the 1960s and currently has problems ranging from leaks to an ailing boiler. While the building is structurally sound, a concrete slab that used to make up the floor of the city police and fire garage has been damaged by years of salt and water exposure.

Based on building studies conducted by two different architectural and engineering firms, building committee members recommended the city pursue renovations instead of building a new city hall. They presented their findings to the city council June 3, during a council work session.

“It was, in my mind, very well received,” DeCramer said.

The building studies showed enough room inside the current municipal building to meet needs for both city offices and public meeting chambers. While the two studies each had different concepts of how the space could be used, it was clear from both that opening up the old garage would address issues with crowded city offices. By renovating the building, the city would also avoid costs associated with new construction, acquiring a new building site and demolishing the old building, group members said.

While the ultimate decisions on city hall are now up to the council, group members suggested that the city consider including building renovations in 2015 budget preparations, as well as conducting a parking study for downtown Marshall. Lack of public parking has been a frequently-voiced concern about the current city hall site.