DADE CITY — With a tentative budget of roughly $5 million, city commissioners mulled site plan options Monday for a new city hall.
The one they agree on would have a backward L-shaped building housing both city hall and the police department covering the southeast block of Meridian and Pasco avenues, between Fifth and Sixth streets. The two departments would have separate entrances to their respective spaces — 21,000 square feet in all — with a circular lobby and commission chamber room linking them at the corner of Meridian and Fifth.
Architect Lisa Wannemacher told commissioners the plan accommodates future growth of the departments and should produce a facility that will stand for 50 to 75 years. The façade design can be as ornate or plain as funds allow, but will be in a style that compliments the historic feel of downtown, Wannemacher said.
"We're going to live with it for a long, long time," said Commissioner Scott Black. "So we want to be happy with what we put into it."
Commissioners are aiming to build the project without going into debt; the available funds will come from reserve accounts and proceeds from the Penny for Pasco sales tax, said City Manager Billy Poe.
The old city hall, located on the same block, was demolished in May after deterioration and safety concerns forced employees to begin relocating in 2011. Some moved in to an adjoining annex building; others, including Poe, are working out of the train depot at the east end of Meridian. The building, constructed in the 1920s as a hotel, had housed municipal workers since 1940.
The annex would be torn down to make way for the new facility, so employees would have to relocate to a temporary working space that has yet to be determined.
No date has been set for construction to begin, but Poe said in May that he hopes to have city employees working in a new building within two years.