Harlem city officials hope that by the end of the summer they'll see their city hall begin to grow.
City Administrator Jean Dove met with an architect on May 23 to finalize plans for an addition to the existing city hall building on Louisville Street.
Dove said she hopes the project will go out for bid by mid-summer and construction will begin by the end of the summer or early fall.
The expansion, Dove said, will include doubling the size of the city hall building by adding a second building in the now-grassy area behind it.
The current city hall houses offices for the water billing clerk, city clerk and the accounts payable clerk. Offices for Dove, Harlem Mayor Scott Dean, the city council, Planning and Zoning and Community Connects were moved in 2005 to a rented office behind the Harlem Department of Public Safety offices at the corner of Louisville and South Hicks streets.
"It will definitely become convenient having the administrative staff back together and it will be more convenient for the citizens," Dove said. "Most everything the citizens need will be under one roof."
Since some offices moved to the rented building, the city hall building was expanded by enclosing a back patio and the interior of the building was repainted and given new carpet.
The architect is currently completing final plans for the addition that will be a second building connected to the original city hall building with an enclosed vestibule.
The new section will include offices, a map room, file room and a meeting room. The new building will mirror the look of city hall.
In the Wednesday meeting, Dove said the architect expects to have the final plans completed in the next 30 days. Then, the city must advertise for bidders for four weeks. The bids will be reviewed before city council awards the project to a contractor.
Once construction begins, Dove said the project should take four or five months to complete if all goes smoothly. Dove said the project is estimated to cost $250,000-300,000.
"We are looking at some interim financing," Dove said, adding that the funding options will likely be a low-interest loan and the money that would have been paid in rent at the leased administrative offices.
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