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February 7, 2013

Forest Acres getting new City Hall

By spring, administrative offices should be moving to a newly acquired building behind City Hall, along North Trenholm Road.

The city of Forest Acres has purchased an office building it is renovating for a new City Hall.

By spring, administrative offices should be moving to a newly acquired building behind City Hall, along North Trenholm Road.

The police department and municipal courtroom will remain where they are – where they’ve been since 1978, longtime police Chief Gene Sealy said Wednesday.

The police department will use the additional space for long-term storage of incident reports, court records and evidence, the chief said.

The new building cost $340,000 and will roughly double the city’s current office space, Administrator Mark Williams said.

It also will relieve parking problems for people visiting City Hall on business or for public meetings.

Williams said it was “probably realistic” to expect the building to be ready by April 1.

The city has been looking for land for years where it could build a new City Hall, but hasn’t found anything suitable, Mayor Frank Brunson said.

When the office building at 5209 North Trenholm came available, Brunson said, it was a good investment and would be a convenient way to meet the city’s space needs – for now, at least.

The two buildings – one tucked behind City Hall, both with addresses on North Trenholm Road –are connected by a small pocket park with a gazebo.

“This is what could be a permanent fix to our space issues, but we’re sort of under two roofs,” he said.

“We would like to have a brand new City Hall somewhere.”

Most of the renovations required to the new building are cosmetic, and Williams did not have estimates. Additionally, the entrance needs a ramp, restrooms must be updated to accommodate wheelchairs and a reception counter installed.

In addition to the administrator’s office, the new building will house the building department, code enforcement and business licensing, Williams said.

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