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#AsktheCity: Old City Hall site update

Updated: 06/21/2018

We know you have questions about city services. We hear them in the community and read them on social media. Unfortunately, we cannot always respond to each individually.

We hope to use the City Blog to better address your questions and clear up any confusion.

Have a question for us? Submit your question or ask us on our Facebook page

Q: What is the status of the former city hall site?

Late last fall, crews demolished the old city hall building at 129 Holmes St. S. In April, the demolition contractor completed backfilling the site and the city is in the process of reviewing a redevelopment proposal on the site. 

A few downtown business owners have expressed interest in seeing the site turned into a permanent parking lot as they believe it would be more convenient for their customers. The city actually has adequate parking in the Central Business District. The city has multiple downtown parking lots, including two under-utilized lots behind River City Centre and on Fuller Street. The reality is that the issue is one of perception more than reality. For example, during the Budweiser Clydesdales visit last week, there were still open parking spaces on Holmes Street, Second Avenue and the old city hall parking lot – when the downtown was full of visitors. Also, the unique nature of a downtown area is that it’s walkable. Unlike standard shopping centers with large parking lots, a downtown allows customers to window shop and casually visit multiple establishments.

Constructing a permanent parking is a costly option for the site. While the demolition area was filled in this spring, the current site cannot support the weight of a vehicle. That is why the area remains blocked off and unavailable for use. The cost of turning the site into a permanent parking lot is estimated at nearly $1 million, as it would have to be brought into compliance with storm water and landscaping standards, similar to what was done on the Lewis Street parking lot. Also, the old city hall foundation would have to be permanently stabilized. 

An alternative solution is to seek development of the site and get the property back on the tax rolls. A residential or commercial development would bring residents and visitors to the downtown while increasing the taxable value of the property. Development of the site would help all downtown businesses by providing additional long-term customers. We are working on a potential development deal to bring before the Economic Development Authority for review. 

  1. Updated: 06/21/2018
  2. Updated: 06/19/2018