Council signals change of direction in proposed plan for City Hall construction

Turning the page from last month’s much-ballyhooed architect’s renderings of a new City Hall, council members gave the revised drawings presented Monday evening somewhat more favorable reviews. But in a sudden change of course, the council first agreed that any construction plans should be viewed in the context of the city’s long-range comprehensive plan, and then discussed building a stripped-down facility, or abandoning construction plans altogether and relocating city offices to an existing building.

The original exterior design, which was presented last month by Dallas architect Randall Scott, was widely panned by the public prior to the meeting, and garnered a lukewarm response from the council. Scott went back to the drawing board to produce a less grandiose design, minus the Romanesque domed clock tower and white columns, and stripped of the water fountain and flag poles that he had proposed in the intersection of Main and 1st Streets. The new drawings were based on an identical floor plan, but the building had been re-oriented to face north and Main Street parking had been restored.

City Manager Hoyt Manning pointed out that at a price tag of $3 million or more, the construction project would be “one of the more costly capital expenses the city will face over the next 10 to 20 years,” and suggested that it would be appropriate to see where the building might fit in the context of the comprehensive plan. . . .

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