GALLIPOLIS — After years of negotiating, planning and lengthy discussions, city officials took a huge sigh of relief on Thursday as the Gallipolis City Justice Center finally opened its doors to the public.
“We are open for business,” Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney commented on Thursday.
Employees with the Gallipolis Police Department, Gallipolis Municipal Court and the Gallipolis City Solicitor’s Office began the transition into their new office space on Wednesday and were making some finishing touches on Thursday afternoon.
“We are going to have a grand opening here shortly, but they wanted to go ahead and get settled first before they brought everybody in,” Finney said.
Construction of the justice center began in late October at the site of the former Gallipolis Municipal Building at 518 Second Avenue and was in its final phase of construction earlier this month.
According to Finney, although the move has been stressful, the employees of the three offices that make up the judicial building are quickly becoming adjusted to their new surroundings.
“Everybody is just getting settled in and getting their desks organized and straightened up and learning their new systems down there,” Finney stated. “We still have a few little issues we’ll have to clear up with some of the phones, but we do have everything right now is working except for the fax machine so we are in good shape on that stand point.
“We’re up and running, so we’ll see how things go in the next couple days as we get settled in,” he said.
While employees continue to organize the interior of the facility, due to the weather, finishing touches around the exterior of the building will be completed the first of the week, including the paving of the small parking area for the use of the police department behind the facility and repaving near the entrance.
“The plan is to finish it Monday,” he said. “We are going to pave the back parking lot, and we are also going to repave the front — right out front we have an area out there that has be to repaved. That should take care of the majority of the outside work. We’ve got a few little cleanup things we have to do on the outside, but basically everything is ready to go.”
While the Gallipolis Police Department moved from its temporary home at 848 Third Avenue, Finney reported that the administrative offices, including the utility and tax offices will remain at that location until the new municipal building is completed in the 300 block of Third Avenue.
“We are expecting, and the schedule we have right now, is to be in our new building by January 23,” he said.
The new “administrative” building is currently under construction and will be the site of the Gallipolis City Commission meetings following its completion. Until then, city commission meetings will be held in the meeting room of the Gallia County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau on Court Street.
Prior to its move into the justice center, city meetings were held in the temporary home of the municipal court on Olive Street.