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Ad hoc committee looks at possibility of moving outside of City Hall

City Hall may not always be the center for city government activities, offices and the police department.

Exploration is occurring on the options of relocating some or all operations to another location.

Those discussions took place Tuesday with the first of City Council’s ad hoc building committee meetings.

Chaired by Councilman Adam Yoder, the committee, joined by members of Mayor Derek Slaughter and members of his administration, are preparing to research the feasibility of moving out of the grand old greystone building on West Fourth Street.

“The building is not set up for government operations of the modern day,” said Damon Hagan, city police chief, who pointed toward security concerns he notices and to a Homeland Security study showing several gaps in safety for employees and visitors alike.

While there were options such as the current location of business, Trade and Transit Centre II, and Transit Centre I, Jon Sander, city engineer, noted how there was a building for sale 20 feet from those locations downtown.

But at least one councilwoman and committee member doesn’t want to move for the sake of moving.

“Appearance of a city’s government building affects the perception of that city,” said Councilwoman Liz Miele.

She noted how the most fiscally beneficial relocation might not be the best in the long-term.

Slaughter also is open to the administration, including Joseph Gerardi, codes administrator, Joseph Pawlak, interim finance director, and Sander, assisting the committee in research.

Pawlak noted how it would need to be reviewed whether the Trade and Transit centres could be used due to how they were constructed using various state and federal grants and a public-private partnership.

It was also observed by members of the committee that a combination of a temporary relocation could work as the county and city continued to explore a combined public safety facility.

“A fresh-built public safety building would be a five- to- seven-year time-frame,” Miele said.

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