Durham Town Council decides on new town hall
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 23:10
This past Monday night at the Durham Town Council meeting, the decision was made to go forward with the construction of a new town hall.
The town purchased property across the street from the current town hall location on Newmarket Road this past July, with hopes that it could be turned into a new town hall. The town had budgeted $1,333,700 for the renovation of the building, and the bid totaled $1,828,160, a difference of $494,460. This created a stall in the process, forcing the town council to think of an alternative way to fund the project.
At the town council meeting two weeks ago, Town Administrator Todd Selig brought up the idea of taking the $494,460 from the undesignated funds balance.
“It’s like a savings account,” Durham Public Works Director Michael Lynch explained. “Like a rainy day account.”
After much deliberation at that meeting, the council decided to add another $150,000 to the $494,460 they would take out of the undesignated funds balance, as a way to make up for some “ridiculous” cuts they had made previously.
This plan to take the money from the undesignated funds balance was then brought to a public hearing this past Monday. Several community members weighed in on the plans for the project, and after a lengthy discussion, the town council decided to move forward with their plans.
“The council has authorized me to sign a contract with Hutter Construction,” Selig said. “I just have to do some more reference checking first.”
If Hutter Construction’s references come back positive, Selig can officially proceed.
“The council felt it was important to do our due diligence,” Selig said. “I am undertaking the reference checking currently and I would expect to complete it by the end of the week.”
As for the current town hall building, Scott Mitchell, the owner of the Irving station downtown, will purchase it for $1.3 million, Selig said. Mitchell is a developer and aims to create a commercial space there.
“He would make it clapboard, he would make it brick, he would make it whatever we want,” Selig said of Mitchell at the meeting two weeks ago.
Selig is excited to see both properties increase in value and aesthetics.
“This is a very positive development for the town and the new town hall will be a lovely structure that represents the values and ideas of the town of Durham,” Selig said. “Everybody here is optimistic about the project.”