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By KELSEY RETTKE
DeKALB – City Hall could be moved downtown by spring, said City Manager Bill Nicklas ahead of Monday’s meeting where the City Council is expected to vote on costs associated with the move.
“I think the conventionally speaking remodeling will be done toward the end of February,” Nicklas said, referencing the interior work needed to update the building.
In May of 2019, Nicklas announced his intention to appeal to the City Council for approval to move City Hall, currently at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., to the former First National Bank building downtown known as the Nehring building, 164 E. Lincoln Highway. The building was owned by the DeKalb Park District and sold to the city for $1, ousting former tenants DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association, that were given a Dec. 31 deadline to vacate their spaces. DAAHA is also requesting $1,000 from the city (up for a vote Monday) to assist with moving expenses for its museum collection.
Total costs associated for the move come to $260,000, which if approved by the council, will come from the capital projects fund, city documents show.
Interior work for the former bank to become City Hall ready includes: carpet replacement, hardwood floor repair, overall interior painting, installing a new suspended ceiling on the main floor, plumbing, electrical and lighting work, phone and fiber optic connections, replacing the front door and various carpentry projects, documents show.
Other costs could be more expansive, and take longer, Nicklas said, including the creation of a new fiber optic hub to store the city’s fiber optic cables at the Nehring building, The Municipal Building currently is the cables’ primary location.
“We’ve got to splice some fibers,” he said. “Whether we can get that all done and up and running before the first of March is a stretch.”
Another component will be installing audio and video equipment in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb Public Library, where City Council meetings will be held once the move is complete.
“We obviously have to get a broadcast center created in the basement of the library,” Nicklas said. “It’s one thing just to replace the carpet and paint. I’m hoping for the best.”
In order to pay for the costs, the city will utilize funds from a number of properties that have been sold over the past year, including a floodplain parcel at 850 N. First St to Robert Carlson for $800; land which will become parking for Plaza DeKalb tenants at North First and Locust streets to the Pappas Development affiliate for $119,500; a vacant gas station at 1101 N. First St. to Kumar Chaudhary for $80,000; a residential parcel at 822 E. Lincoln Highway to Kelly Diehl for $12,500; a residential parcel at 402 Gurler St. to Tony Smith for $7,000; a residential lot at 1015-1017 Market St. to Martin Garcie for $10,500; and a .37-acre residential lot at 901 Sycamore Road to Frank Schermerhorn for $8,500.
Additional funding will come from surplus funds from the expired tax increment financing district known as TIF 2, which ended Dec. 31.
From the fiscal 2020 Capital Projects Fund, another $186,333 will go to the City Hall move.
Although it’s not yet been sold, the City Hall annex at 213/223 S. Fourth St., would provide an additional $395,000 if sold for the listing price, documents show.