Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Commission Authorizes Study for New City Hall at Annual Retreat

Skylight Effect with Vertical Arthitecture

At the Lauderhill Annual Retreat, the Commissioners discussed a variety of subjects concerning the future of the next few years of the city. One of the most significant discussions concerned the future of a City Hall.

Analysis was presented showing three alternatives. Tearing down old City Hall, and rebuilding. Taking old City Hall down to the structure and rebuilding. Finally, rebuilding a new city hall on Oakland Park Blvd. at the site of the old Publix building. Each idea presented different issues to the city, and a different cost.

Bottom line was that trying to rebuild at the site of old City Hall would cost between $5,750,000 and $7,250,000. It was also stated that by choosing the least expensive alternative at the old site still would not the provide the city with a building that would be sufficiently safe from future hurricanes.

The third alternative of building a new city hall at the old Publix was approved by the Commission to pursue and enter into further discussions. It was explained that factoring in tax revenues the city would generate by selling off the realty for housing at the old City Hall site, the overall cost would ultimately be under $1,000,000. Additionally, a new city hall on Oakland Park Blvd. would help to spur significant economic development in that corridor.

Though the final decision has not been reached, it is clear of the present direction of the city. The time to potential completion would be between 2 to 3 years. The building is expected to be 40,000 square feet, be 4 floors, and have a skylight appearance to the building. A reference was made concerning a similar type of building constructed in Boulder, Colorado.

Part of the discussion was the type of housing that would be built at the old City Hall site. The available 8 acres may have highest value as townhouses selling from $250,000. However, there was an interest in having it developed as single family homes as well. The intent is to provide to the Central Area of Lauderhill something that would enhance the area, and bring up property values, while also improving their neighborhoods community look.

Other matters covered at the Retreat concerned:
1) The expenditures on the Great Neighborhood Bond, including the construction of the Walls;
2) Progress on the CRA's;
3) What the Commission needs are for the temporary City Hall being built out at the Corporate Park of Inverrary;
4) The creation of a Charter Review Committee;
5) Special Events Programs for the future; and
6) How the city would handle the expenditure of funds for education.

The Charter Review Committee idea was directed to the City Attorney to draft up an ordinance to require every 10 years for a committee to be created. It would spend a specific amount of time reviewing the Charter and Code, sending recommendations to the Commission. Then it would be sunsetted. It is expected that it will be brought to the Commission by April, and would be sponsored by Commissioner-Elect Benson.

Ideas for Special Events for the future included a desire to continue an Annual Valentine Concert, possibly expanding into a concert series, and the creation of a City Choir.

Finally, the Commission decided to allow the Educational Advisory Board to recommend to the City Commission the expenditures of funds from the $100,000 set aside for education. These funds were authorized in the last budget of the city, and require city staff to monitored all authorized grants to make sure the funds are used as directed.

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