GALLIPOLIS — The design and proposed construction site of a new administrative building for the City of Gallipolis was presented to a large crowd of city residents and community members during a public hearing held on Tuesday evening.
During the hearing, held just prior to a special meeting of the Gallipolis City Commission in the Gallipolis Municipal Courtroom, Project Engineer Randy Breech presented his proposed site and floor plans for the building that will be located on city property next to the Gallipolis municipal parking area in the 300 block between Second and Third Avenues in the city.
Breech reported that the proposed municipal building would be 5,750 square feet and will house the city’s “administrative” offices: the city manager’s office, code enforcement, the auditor/treasurer’s offices, tax office and utilities’ office. In addition, once completed, the facility will be very similar in design to the Gallipolis Justice Center currently being constructed at 518 Second Avenue.
“Basically, the architectural firm took our justice center — they did the architectural drawing on it — and they duplicated it into a smaller building,” Breech said while presenting the architectural rendering. “The look is 99 percent same of what the new justice center is which is mostly a brick building with EIFS [exterior insulation finish systems] stucco work near the bottom and top, for some trim.”
The main entry to the building will face Court Street, with the rear of the facility facing People’s Bank, and will also house public restrooms, with exterior entrances, that will be open to those visiting the downtown area.
“One nice thing that the public might be interested in, other than the fact that they will have a new place to pay their bills, is that at one end of this building, we would finally have public restroom facilities that the public can go to without interfering with the city’s business,” Breech said. “These restrooms would be built with concrete block finish, on the inside, painted, and the fixtures would all be metal, stainless steel, like you would find in a jail holding cell, so that hopefully, they would not be destroyed.”
Additionally, Breech reported that, due to the positioning of the building, only 15 parking spaces will be lost in the municipal parking area post construction. According to Breech, 116 total spaces are currently available for public use in that area.
The building will also be positioned well away from the People’s Bank property line and, due to this, will allow for a drive through window for utility payments.
“Also, by keeping this building off the People’s Bank property line, it will allow for drive-up payment capability for your utility bill,” Breech said. “That’s something that was asked for back when we were originally designing an all-in-one building which featured police, fire and administration. We couldn’t do that in that building because of space limitations. We can do it on this building. So, if you want to make a utility payment, drive right through. They’ll have a counter with a window and you can make your payment there.”
During the meeting, a member of the public also addressed the need for clean-up of the area near to the proposed site and behind the downtown business district — a thoroughfare known as 2-1/2 Alley.
City Manager Randy Finney reported that, due to the imminent construction of the municipal building, “sprucing up” the area is something he thinks should be made a priority.
“We are going to look at that probably down the road. That’s one of the things that the American in Bloom people suggested — that we should look at that alley and how to spruce that up. I think that once we start moving forward with this, and we are able to take middle [grassy] section out and level things up, we can neaten things up a little bit,” Finney said. “We are going to have to work on cleaning that up.”
Breech also reported that, because of the size of the facility, construction time will be much shorter than that of the city justice center.
“I think as far as a layout. This would work as good as anything, but none of this is set in stone yet. The plans, at this point, I am probably about two-thirds of the way complete on them and am waiting to see if there is any other input on the project before I complete them,” Breech said. “This is going to be a pretty cut and dry project compared to the justice center, which was much more complicated. This project will go much faster and probably only take not much more than half the time that the justice center is going to take to be completed.”
The new municipal building will be paid for out a $2.342 million bond — the largest portion of which is being used to pay for the construction of the city justice center — and, according to Breech, the administrative project should be ready to go out to bid soon after a second public hearing about the project is held in February.
This second public hearing will be held during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Gallipolis City Commission at 7 p.m., February 7 in the Gallipolis Municipal Courtroom, 49 Olive Street.