Security and accessibility are two issues the city of Weyauwega needs to address in the building that houses its administrative offices and police department.
“Our facilities are extremely antiquated. It’s hard to work out of,” said Police Chief Gerald Poltrock.
City residents will have the opportunity to look at the conditions of the current building and learn about the proposed expansion of City Hall during a series of upcoming public informational meetings.
Information about the city’s space needs was included in this month’s utility billing.
“Right now, it is about asking the public if it’s something they can get behind. This addresses the needs. Come in and talk about it,” said City Administrator Patrick Wetzel.
The meetings are scheduled from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, with a short presentation at 6:15 p.m.; from 4-5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, with a short presentation at 4:15 p.m.; and from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, with a short presentation at 12:15 p.m.
All three meetings will be held at City Hall.
An assessment of City Hall identified a number of items needing to be addressed including a lack of security, proper storage, meeting space, voting space, proper police functions, efficiency and energy efficiency.
There are safety and code deficiencies in the building.
The municipal building was constructed as a Fire Hall and City Hall facility and has served the community since the early 1900s.
The city’s discussion about how to improve City Hall began in 2008.
The options included renovating the current City Hall or constructing a new building on various sites.
After reviewing various options, the Common Council decided to keep City Hall downtown.
In 2011, Cedar Corporation, of Green Bay, was retained to review City Hall’s suitability for renovation, as well as the two buildings next to it for potential opportunities.
The council voted in June 2012 to buy the former mall building at 105 E. Main St. and also the building at 107 E. Main St. for the possible future expansion of City Hall.
Plans call to have those two buildings also open to the public during the informational meetings.
The council is considering a two-story building on the three lots.
Under the latest layout proposal, City Hall and the Police Department would remain at their current locations.
The building at 107 E. Main St. would be designated as a common entrance with restrooms, a dry goods and office space, an elevator and two stairways. The second level would also include a corridor/lobby and restrooms, as well as space for a judge.
The first floor of the former mall building, at 105 E. Main St., would include a community room and kitchen.
“It really is a multi-purpose community space,” Chris Gunderson said about that part of the plan.
Gunderson, a member of the City Hall Ad Hoc Committee, said it is important to have a community space with a kitchen.
“I think we have a need for a space that comfortably meets the needs of our senior center now and in the future,” she said. “I see a need in our community for a place to rent at a reasonable cost to hold bridal showers, wedding receptions, anniversary parties, community events.”
The senior nutrition site is currently held at First Presbyterian Church. The city also rents space from the church for voting.
The proposed City Hall project would allow both of those functions to be held in the municipal building.
In addition, there would be space for the city’s monthly committee and council meetings.
Today, those meetings are held in the lower level meeting room of the Weyauwega Public Library.
Wetzel said a city committee recently had to keep a meeting to no more than an hour, “because we only had the meeting room available to the committee for 1 1/2 hours. It’s nice to have it available, but we have to share it.”
He said the layout of the current City Hall is not ideal.
Although there are front and back entrances, there is not adequate parking in the front of the building, Wetzel said.
There is a parking lot behind City Hall, but a decision was recently made to turn the back door into an employee-only entrance for security reasons.
“We don’t have eyes on the door,” Wetzel said.
The council wants input from the public about the proposed City Hall expansion.
Wetzel said the total cost of the project and financing will then be discussed in the February/March time frame.
For now, a cost range of $1.8 million to $2.2 million is being used for the project budget.