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Council moving ahead with city hall design

SOLON– A Cedar Rapids engineering firm has been selected to design Solon’s new city hall.
At a March 20 meeting, city council members approved $3,050 in architectural services for Design Dynamics, Inc. for a design concept, and a full presentation was tentatively scheduled for special council meeting Monday, March 15.
City representatives met with the company to review a basic floor plan Thursday, according to city administrator Cassandra Lippincott. Lippincott said a floor plan and basic exterior concepts were discussed. The full council will review the preliminary drawings at the special meeting, and might vote to proceed with preparing bid documents.
The city still hopes to begin construction on a new city hall this year after abandoning an effort to rehabilitate the building at 100 W. Main St. After price estimates for renovation came back much higher than anticipated, council members decided last month to demolish the structure informally known as the Candy Store.
At a March 6 meeting, the city accepted a bid of $12,875 from Chris’ Excavating to tear the 40-year-old structure down.
Two weeks later, council members authorized up to $2,000 for a survey of the property and directed city attorney Jim Martinek to begin work on construction easements and a right of first refusal for a nearby home.
In 2012, the city approved borrowing up to $900,000 in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) bonds to finance the purchase and renovation of the Main Street building, and with a $214,000 purchase price and the cost of asbestos removal, there is roughly $655,000 available.
Lippincott said the city is trying to keep the cost of constructing the new city hall, a single-story pre-engineered building featuring structural insulated panels, to $500,000, with an additional $30,000 in engineering fees.
Demolition of the Candy Store won’t occur until easements are obtained and utilities shut down, Lippincott noted, likely in late April or early May.
“Construction won’t take place realistically until August,” she said. It’s hoped the exterior of the building can be complete by mid-November so work can continue inside through winter, she added.