During last week’s city council meeting, the council approved the architectural plans for the planned remodeling of the cooperative building. The building, which has been largely closed for a number of years (except for occasional events such as the History and Art Walk and the Welsh Festival), is set to become a new focal point for city government and business. While there is an existing pool of money raised through donations to begin the process, city infrastructure grants will most likely become the main source of funding. The city’s recent real estate sale at Diamond Ridge also offers at least one potential source of funding if the City Council decides to use some of it for this purpose.
The process of converting the building into a usable space will be long and complex. The city’s first priority is to restore the heavily weathered exterior of the building. In order to repaint the surface, a professional test of the bricks and the existing paint must be carried out to determine the best approach. For example, a high-pressure wash on the surface will almost certainly not be possible in the current state. The council at its last meeting approved $2,500 for an initial test of the building’s exterior. After the test, painting itself requires a significant investment of time and resources. This type of project is also likely to fall under existing funding.
After the building has been updated in its external appearance, some major internal improvements need to be made. Of paramount importance to the integrity of the building itself are lighting and plumbing. Since the current infrastructure is outdated and does not comply with current regulations, the “inside” of the building will require a lot of work. In addition to these basic elements, the co-op also needs an ADA-compliant elevator as the building will function as an official government facility.
The plans for the building provide for a much larger space for city council chambers. Currently, City Hall has limited space for events such as public hearings. In fact, public hearings have been moved to the events center several times in recent months in anticipation of crowded hearings. While the Event Center was a good short-term fix, the fact of the matter is that it’s a popular venue. During the summer the courthouse will undergo its own renovation to bring the elevator up to date and the events center will be the temporary seat of the courts, further straining the available alternatives for public meetings.
Plans also included expanded city offices, a visitor center, meeting rooms and rentable office space on the second floor. There is some discussion about opening up rentable space to retail businesses, such as B. a gift shop, a coffee shop or even a coffee shop. The expanded space also creates the potential for many other public and civic events to take place in a central location throughout the year, as well as events that could take place in rentable/rentable spaces in the building.
Although the project will undoubtedly take place over a longer period of time, the first steps have been taken to move it forward. If reality follows from the plans outlined so far, it should result in a modern and professional space that manages to preserve the important history of Main Street and Malad itself.