Lansdale Borough Manager Timi Kirchner Wednesday night recommended the Administration and Finance Committee consider two of the four alternatives presented last month to council on the renovation or rebuilding of borough hall and the police station.
According to Dan Sokil of The Reporter, Kirchner suggested the committee not choose the option that renovated both buildings with additions and the option that renovated borough hall and built a new police station.
The remaining two options for the committee are these: demolish both buildings and make a new facility that houses both administration and police, and renovate borough hall and construct a new police station, according to the article.
Both remaining options call for the vacation of Railroad Avenue in favor of making it a pedestrian route or public park.
A facilities study last summer by Spiezle Architects revealed that Lansdale Borough Hall and the police station are two of four borough-owned properties in very poor condition. The others being the third floor of 421 W. Main Street and the parks maintenance building. Lansdale Borough Hall and the police station were last renovated 24 years ago and 50 years ago, respectively. The former was a post office and the latter was a library.
Kirchner told the administration and finance committee Wednesday, according to the article, that renovating borough hall would be “throwing good money after bad.”
Kirchner proposed that Spiezle be hired to draft final design plans for both concepts in the meantime. A contract could be voted on at the Feb. 20 meeting, according to the article.
She said it was important to consider two arguments: both properties are historic and both properties are in very poor condition.
According to Sokil, Council President Matt West told the committee that resident feedback on the project is a major factor, and the choice to demolish borough hall and the police station will come down to community pride versus politics.
According to Sokil, committee chairman Dan Dunigan echoed the same sentiment: at what cost does civic pride end?
There was one sentiment that most of the committee agreed with, according to the article: Layout issues will not be fixed through renovation. Community Development Director John Ernst told the committee the exterior of borough hall is a major reason why it is in very poor condition.
Ernst said the borough must “either fix the skin or build it from scratch,” with the latter option being the cheapest, according to the report.