Aldermen on Monday night approved a plan that shuffles around city offices while the City Hall building is renovated for about six months.
City Hall will be renovated to make it more accessible for handicapped individuals. Also, a balcony will be added to the City Council chambers. The work is expected to begin in July and be finished in January 2017.
Before the City Hall renovations begin, construction crews will finish building the police department’s new home at 720 W. Main St. The city bought the former Bank of Belleville building and is converting it into a police station. The bank has since moved to a new building at 215 S. Illinois St.
Here are highlights of the plan proposed by Mayor Mark Eckert:
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▪ The Mayor’s office, the finance department and the marketing department will move to the new police station at 720 W. Main St.
▪ The City Clerk and Treasurer’s offices will move to the Parks & Recreation/ Human Resources building at 510 W. Main St.
▪ The Economic Development, Planning & Zoning department will move to the public services building at 407 E. Lincoln St.
The work on the new police station and the City Hall renovations will cost about $18.5 million, paid for through a bond issue.
It needs to be done for safety’s sake, safety of the employees and the citizens who visit City Hall.
Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert
Eckert said the City Hall building will be 60 years old next year and has a lot of asbestos that needs to be removed.
“It needs to be done for safety’s sake, safety of the employees and the citizens who visit City Hall,” Eckert said.
The building was designed by architect Charles E. King, a former Belleville resident. Eckert said the renovation plans call for the city to do “everything possible” to keep the original King design.
During the renovation of City Hall, the City Council meetings will convene at Lindenwood University-Belleville in the Alan J. Dixon Building banquet hall.
In other business
▪ City Clerk Dallas Cook gave a presentation regarding the transfer of services from Belleville Township to the city. Last month, the township approved an ordinance calling for the dissolution of the township in May 2017 as long as the City Council passed an ordinance accepting the township’s responsibilities. The township is tasked with assisting needy individuals. Cook said the city would only need a part-time employee who worked 20 hours a week to handle these duties. Eckert said the city will form a task force to handle the transition.
▪ The council approved a recommendation from The Gonzalez Companies LLC of Belleville that Plocher Construction Co. be awarded a $2.08 million contract to extend a sewer line to the restaurant, hotel and sports field complex planned for Illinois 15 across from The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Developers value the complex at more than $100 million. Construction has begun on a Hofbräuhaus restaurant and brew pub. Developers have not announced which hotels will be built at the site. Game On Sports Development of Kansas City has announced it will build 11 soccer fields.
▪ Aldermen passed a resolution urging members of Congress to review the national tariff policy on steel goods and make immediate efforts to eliminate the practice foreign steel “dumping.” Domestic steel producers lose sales to foreign counties, particularly China and South Korea, which have sold their products in the United States at “prices below fair market value,” according to the proposed resolution. The Madison and St. Clair county boards also recently passed similar resolutions to show support for the Granite City Works steel mill that has laid off more than 2,000 employees, including about 100 from Belleville.
▪ The council appointed Molly McKenzie to the Historic Preservation Commission and reappointed Glenn Friederich and Terry Mackin to the Parks & Recreation Board.
The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 in City Hall at 101 S. Illinois St. The council normally meets on the third Monday of each month but this meeting will be on Tuesday because of the Presidents Day holiday on Feb. 15.
Where will city officials meet?
When City Hall is being renovated, the meetings for city committees and commissions will be in temporary sites:
- City Council, first and third Mondays: Lindenwood University-Belleville, Alan J. Dixon building, banquet hall.
- Economic Development & Annexation Committee: first Wednesday, fire administration building at 1125 S. Illinois St.
- Finance Committee, second Monday, fire administration building at 1125 S. Illinois St.
- Master Sewer Committee, first Monday, Lindenwood University-Belleville, Alan J. Dixon building, banquet hall.
- Planning Commission, first Wednesday, fire administration building at 1125 S. Illinois St.
- Zoning Board of Appeals, fourth Thursday, Lindenwood University-Belleville, Alan J. Dixon building, banquet hall.