Answer could come soon on new City Hall

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Current Royal Theater was never final home for city offices


By Jennifer Shrader


HOGANSVILLE – The city of Hogansville soon will know if its offer was accepted to move City Hall from its Royal Theater location to another downtown site.


The city recently put in an offer on another downtown building after securing financing through a USDA loan to buy and upgrade the building, which has not been publicly identified.


“The offer is contingent on the financing coming through,” said Mayor Bill Stankiewicz. “We put in a high loan amount for buying the building and repairing it. The USDA advised us to do so.”


City Hall has been located in the historic Royal Theater for a number of years but the site was never supposed to be the final destination for city offices. The plan was always to move into the former Hogansville Library, further down Main Street, when it moved to its new location on Johnson Street. That finally happened late last year when a new library was built with special-purpose, local-option sales tax funds.


But the library turned out not to be the best site for City Hall.


“We had an architect do a needs assessment, looking at what everyone wanted as far as minimum needs, medium needs and getting everything you wanted,” Stankiewicz said. “Then we went to the library. He said we could shoehorn everyone in for the most basic needs but in five years we’d be saying ‘Who’s idea was it to move in here?’”


The city had no plan be until a second downtown building became available. Stankiewicz says it’s big enough to hold public events and possibly serve as a welcome center, like the one about to open in West Point, and hold municipal court.


The Royal Theater eventually would be turned back into a theater or arts center, which better suits the building, Stankiewicz said.


“It would be very attractive for downtown,” he said.


While the theater has been a central downtown location, the building hasn’t exactly been user-friendly to City Hall staff or visitors. The upstairs offices are hard to access and the offices and council chambers are small and hard to navigate.


“It’s not user-friendly and it’s not a good use of the building,” Stankiewicz said.


An answer on the offer could come as soon as mid-March and an answer on the loan could come about three weeks after that. Actual construction on the new building would begin two to four months after financing is approved.


The city already has earmarked $600,000 in the next special-purpose, local-option sales tax projects as “City Hall.” Stankiewicz said if the tax is approved with the November vote, money collected would be used to pay down the loan.