Florala creates plan for ‘new’ city hall

Published 1:35 am Saturday, August 22, 2009

Florala’s old city hall is set to become its new city hall, hopefully by the end of the year, council members agreed at their last meeting.

Thursday, Mayor Robert Williamson said the city is seeking bids from contractors so the city can begin the “transformation process” on the building.

“A city hall should be a representation of what that city has to offer its businesses and its residents,” he said. “We think that by renovating that building we can create a great space and a great reflection of Florala.”

The Florala Utilities Board donated the property, which is valued approximately $125,000, to the city in June. The donation was called “another indication of the cooperative spirit that has developed between the city and utilities board” after the resolution of a nearly two-year legal battle between the two entities over the number of municipal officers allowed to sit on the utilities board.

That dispute ended in December; however, before being resolved, it led to the moving of “city hall” and its operations out of the building and into the adjacent building, where “city hall” currently shares space with the Florala Police Department.

The Utilities Board had occupied the building before moving earlier this year into the old Alabama Power Building.

Williamson said renovation plans call for an enlarged meeting area, additional office space and “definitely some outside work.”

“There’s a pretty large conference room there already,” he said. “The thought is to maybe take out a wall to add more seating room. We’d like to see the Chamber (of Commerce) and some other city boards use some office space there, and we’d like to add some additional office space so that maybe in the future we can entice some state offices like Social Security.”

As for the exterior, Williamson said residents can rest assured the building will look “very nice.”

“I’m not sure yet what we’re going to do exactly, but we’re talking of new windows and doing something to the multi-colored bricks,” he said. “Once everything is finished, I know the building will be a credit to the city of Florala.”

Bids for the project will be opened Sept. 14 during the council’s regular meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

Work on the project should be completed by the end of the year.