DEEP RIVER – After much time and effort by the Town Hall Building Committee, residents of this Connecticut town will soon be able to cast their votes regarding a proposal to expand the 1892 municipal building. This aims to add more office space in CBD for additional functionality.
Richard King, chairman of the Town Hall Building Committee, said the project would add approximately 2,900 square feet per floor including the two levels above grade and the basement.
The project would completely renovate the existing building except for the auditorium, King said, adding it would result in the closure of Veterans Memorial Lane and create additional parking spaces near the building’s northwest corner.
King said the town has received $100,000 from Turnpike Properties, the developers of the future Walgreens at 190 Main Street, for design fees.
It has applied for a $300,000 Small Cities Grant for ADA Compliance to the existing building and a $100,000 grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism for the restoration aspect of the project.
Schematic plans show the first floor would have a new main entrance in the expansion featuring a lobby with a more prominent display of the Columbia Memorial.
The expansion will house a 540-square-foot Town Clerk’s Office with an adjacent 640-square-foot vault, a large 740-square-foot conference room with a chair storage room, and an additional stairwell with access to the basement, first, and second levels.
The existing section of the first floor will house the offices of the Selectman, Selectman’s Assistant, Accounting, Tax Collector, Assessor, Resident State Trooper, a shared equipment room and restrooms.
It will also house an elevator with an extended pit allowing access between the basement, first, and second floors.
Schematics for the expansion to the second floor show it would house a 720-square-foot Land Use Office in addition to offices for the Probate Court, Probate Judge, and Registrar of Voters.
It would also house a 150-square-foot conference room and an 80-square foot conference room would be housed on this floor as well as a shared office, a 105-square-foot staff room, and restrooms.
The second floor expansion will be aligned with the auditorium allowing it to be fully ADA compliant.
Between the second floor expansion and the existing portion will be an area where one can look below into the Columbia Memorial lobby.
Because of the design of the 1892 town hall, the mezzanine level cannot be expanded or be made ADA accessible, but it is planned to be reconfigured to house a 304-square-foot conference room, a 342-square foot dressing room, restrooms, and a small storage room.
The basement will have mechanical, electrical, and server areas along with storage areas for shared files, non-staffed commissions, secure materials, Park and Recreation, and a food pantry.
The town has hired an outside financial advisor company, Dixworks, LLC, to determine the projected effect the expansion would have on taxes.
The project is expected to increase the mill rate by 0.50, or $50 on a house assessed at $100,000 in the first year of the bond, 2009.
The mill rate is expected to increase again in 2011 by an additional 0.61 mills, or $61 on a house assessed at $100,000.
In years thereafter, the mill rate will gradually decrease until the bond is paid off in 2030.