Tonight, the resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Lacey Thayer Reilly Wilson LLC to do a feasibility study on moving City Hall to 400 State Street, a study to be funded by a $100,000 gift from the Galvan Initiatives Foundation, which currently owns the building and has offered to give it to the City, was defeated.
proposal presented to the Council a year ago, part of which is reproduced below, that set the total construction cost at less than $2.8 million. She asserted that the new Council should not be bound by decisions made by the previous Council.
Alder Margaret Morris (First Ward) noted that in 2007 the Hudson Area Library's plan for restoring the building set the cost at $8.8 million and $3 million of that was to be spent on "basic stuff"—foundation work, masonry repair, asbestos removal—things that were not included in the Galvan restoration plan. DePietro claimed that "a lot of the work has already been done" and that would reduce the cost. There is little evidence any of this basic restoration work has been undertaken by Galvan.
DePietro told the alders that proceeding with the feasibility study was not making any commitment. "It will tell us if the project is way out of line." Morris expressed the opinion that accepting the $100,000 from Galvan was not a good idea.
When the vote was taken, Daskaloudi, Morris, and Ryan Wallace (Third Ward) voted against the resolution; Council president Tom DePietro voted in favor; everyone else—Theo Anthony (Fourth Ward), Art Frick (First Ward), Dominic Merante (Fifth Ward), Mohammed Rony (Second Ward), Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward), Malachi Walker (Fourth Ward)—abstained. Newly appointed Third Ward alder Amber Harris could not vote because she had not yet been sworn in.
During the course of the discussion, DePietro explained that there had been three plans for fulfilling the City's settlement agreement with the Department of Justice to make City Hall ADA compliant: moving to the former John L. Edwards school building, which was not longer an option; moving to 400 State Street, which seemed to be not as popular as it once was; or making alterations to 520 Warren Street. He concluded, "If we want a fully compliant City Hall, we need to spend money."
In October 2019, the cost of the most expensive plan for making 520 Warren Street ADA compliant, the one that exposed the glorious stained glass laylight and had an addition at the rear of the building with an elevator that gave access to all floors including the basement storage area, was set at less than $3.2 million. At the informal meeting last week, Public Works commissioner Peter Bujanow said they were ready to go to bid on the alterations to 520 Warren Street—the minimum required to make the building ADA compliant. Let's hope before the City moves ahead with the least expensive plan, they take a serious look at the most expensive plan, which would make the building ADA compliant and also create a space for the code enforcement office.