Progress made on LaFayette’s new city hall

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

LaFayette may have a new city hall as early as June or July of this year. According to Mayor Kenneth Vines, the city will put the bid for the renovations out next week. 

Vines said the city has been waiting for the plans from the architect, Richard Meinert with Meinert Architecture in Auburn. The next step in the process will be to put the contract out to bid. Though the deadline for bids may be extended, Vines hopes to get into the new building by June or July of this year. 

The new building, the former bank across the street from Renfroe’s Market on LaFayette Street North, will be home to city hall as well as the police department. 

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According to City Clerk Louis Davidson, part of the right side of the building will be renovated to house the current police department operations. A window, which was once a drive-thru for bank tellers, will be renovated for people to interact with a receptionist. 

Whereas, the left side will be renovated to hold council meetings. The only other changes will be ensuring that bathrooms and the rest of the building are ADA-compliant.

“Before the next administration comes — if I don’t choose to run again or don’t make it — at least I can say I did get a chance to sit down inside the new city hall as mayor,” Vines joked. 

The city of LaFayette has been planning a move for city hall for several years. Vines said the current city hall was first built in the late 1930’s and was remodeled in the 60s to serve as city hall. 

The building has since undergone many repairs including several roof repairs. 

“Are you gonna keep more money to old downs or you just going to get something that going to last you awhile?” Vines said, adding the current city hall has incurred many repair fees and will continue to.

Vines said the new building will be an investment in the city’s future and should last many years to come. 

The city purchased the former McClendon Trucking building in 2017 to serve as the new city hall and police department before Vines was in office. The building’s prime downtown location across the street from the courthouse and its large interior were selling points.

Vines said he looked into the building as a possible new city hall but found that the cost of all the necessary repairs would outweigh the benefits. 

“It was going to be too costly for the city and for us, the taxpayers, and I didn’t want to put that much of a burden on the taxpayers,” Vines said.

As of now, the city still owns the McClendon building. Last year, the city worked with LaFayette Main Street to hang the Portraits of Honor in the uppermost windows of the building. 

The city council has discussed whether or not to sell the building but has not yet decided. 

Vines said there has been some interest from potential buyers but that no decision has been made. He said they are still exploring their options whether it be utilizing the building themselves or finding a seller that would be an asset to the community.

Either way, Vines said, he intends to make sure the city gets a return on its investment. 

Vines said the old city hall on Alabama Avenue will still be a city property and resource. They have not yet decided what to do with the building.