City hall holding: Lenoir City leaders may restart project in 2011

Brittany Davenport News Herald

Lenoir City's new city hall may be on the agenda for 2011.

City administrator Dale Hurt said he hopes to brainstorm and discuss ideas with city council to move the project, that was put on hold due to the recession, back on track. The city was moving along with the project, purchasing property next to the post office downtown, demolishing the building on that land and spending between $90 to $100,000 in architectural fees, but then came the recession, Hurst said.

"It was a good place to stop, you know, we know where we are," he said. 

At a recent city council workshop, partnering with the Lenoir City Utility Board to complete the project was suggested. Hurst said, partnering would certainly lower the cost and the city would want to explore that avenue.

Sitting down and talking to LCUB management to see if they are interested or in need of more office space and seeing what role LCUB will play, if any, in the project is something Hurst said he hopes to discuss earlier in the upcoming year with city council.

"They may come back and say, hey we're OK where we are," Hurst said. "I hope to engage them on that discussion as well. From there we could determine which path we go down, singularly or a partner, in some way form or fashion and to what extent," he said. But, the bottom line is, the project is still on hold.

"Our revenues aren't growing fast enough to bring the project back online at this time," Hurst said. A very big capital project, Hurts said it is not possible to complete until revenues start coming back.

Plans for square footage per department are already completed and Hurst said the city has three options for the project priced from $7 to $9 million.

The plans call for a three-story City Hall building and a one-story Fire Hall separated by an open green space. The City Hall portion of the municipal complex would be he new home for most of the city's departments, including the Clerk's office, parks and recreation, municipal court, the mayor and city administration and building and codes enforcement. It also includes an entire floor dedicated to the Lenoir City Police Department.