City exploring move to Norley Hall

37_swear-9227SWEARING IN  — County elected officials were given their oath of office on Thursday. It was administered by Commissioner Cyndi Johnson, far right. From the left, is Public Administrator Bill May, Clerk and Recorder Janis Hoppes, Sheriff/Coroner Tom Kuka, Treasurer Jeanne Moon, County Superintendent of Schools Jo Stone, County Attorney Mary Ann Ries and Justice of the Peace Audrey Brown. All terms of office are for four years.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

The big talking point Monday evening at the city council meeting centered on the city moving their Main Street offices to Norley Hall, Blue Sky Villa.

George Gibson, an architect working with KLJ, an engineering firm, was on hand to give a presentation on the proposed project.

Mayor John Shevlin emphasized that the $343,000 (estimated cost) project is “just being explored” at the  present.

A committee, comprised of council members Wendy Judisch and Sandy Syvertson, along with Chief Gary Dent and Public Works Director Rich Anderson have yet to enter into a discussion or meeting with representatives of Horizon Lodge.

Gibson told council members that the building is in a good location, but will need some work.

Looking first at the Police Department, Gibson explained, “You have to look at the department as a separate entity.” The new area would include a secure entry, evidence room, interview room, a break room and office(s).

Another area would be worked up for a courtroom, affording more privacy than the present courtroom in city hall.

There would be a conference room for general use as well. City offices would all be in one spot that would include an office for the mayor and two other private offices, a reception area and a break room.

The community section would be left the way it is, meaning the theatre area for the Pondera Players would remain intact and that same area would be used for future polling places for elections.

Judisch asked about the serving-bar area, saying they did not want to lose that. It will remain, however, it will probably be reduced in size and made smaller.

Gibson also noted that a new boiler for Norley Hall would be “an expensive ticket, but grants are available.” The architect also looked at putting on a new roof, but the Hall can get by with the present one for now.

Troy Shirley, manager of the Horizon Lodge, told the I-O on Tuesday that, “If it is a win-win situation there is no reason for the city not to move.” He felt any negative might be an open building space on Main St.

This is a project that is not going to happen overnight, at best, it is several years down the road. “We are just looking at all possibilities and dollars,” the mayor said.

In an action item, council members passed Resolution 11-1036 which deals with policy manual changes and job descriptions. The resolution in whole may be viewed and read at city hall during normal working hours by any interested individual.

Chief Dent reported that the CPD received 165 calls during the month of December.

In part they included 11 assists to the ambulance crew, two businesses found open, 34 various public assists, many weather related, two felony arrests, four fights and nine rides home from the local bars.

Cheryl Curry from the Port Authority (PA) reported that activity was slow right now. The PA is working on the city-county contract for the community center and is also working on the new Industrial Park and has updated the Main Street office, adding new filing cabinets.

There were no building or zoning permits or water contracts to act on.

The next regular meeting of the city council will be on Jan. 18, which is a Tuesday because Jan. 17 is a National Holiday for Martin Luther King.

Council meetings start at 7:30 p.m. in city hall at 4111/2 S. Main St. The public is always encouraged to attend and see their government at work.