As the city’s police department gets ready to move to its new headquarters, City Hall will be closed to the public for about seven months while the building is renovated and the adjacent police administration building is demolished.
City Hall employees are going to work out of various temporary offices during the renovation, which is scheduled to begin in July and be finished in January.
Aldermen have approved a bond issue to pay for the work on the new police station in the former Bank of Belleville building at 720 W. Main St. and for the City Hall renovation.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new police station is at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 25 and an open house will last until 4 p.m.
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Mayor Mark Eckert said the main reasons for renovations at City Hall at 101 S. Illinois St. are to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to make safety improvements such as asbestos abatement and a second exit to the council chambers.
We’re being as frugal we can be. We’re keeping to the best of our ability to honor and keep the Charles King architecture in this building that’s 60 years old next year.
Mayor Mark Eckert
“We’re being as frugal we can be,” Eckert told aldermen earlier this month. “We’re keeping to the best of our ability to honor and keep the Charles King architecture in this building that’s 60 years old next year.”
King was a Belleville architect who designed the City Hall. State historians describe the lobby and council chambers as the two best examples of mid-century modern architecture in a civic building in the Midwest.
Members of the Belleville Historical Society have said they wanted the city to keep the former Security Abstract and Title Co. building at 10 W. Washington St. but Eckert has said it needs to be demolished to make way for handicapped parking spots and an easy way for people in wheelchairs to enter City Hall.
The entire project costs about $18.5 million, which includes $3.1 million to buy the bank building, $10 million for the police headquarters and an estimated $5 million for the City Hall renovation. The City Council authorized a $18.5 million bond issue to pay for the work. Jamie Maitret, the city’s finance director, said the bond payments are now being drawn from the TIF 3 fund. When TIF 3 expires in about six years, the bond payments may be made with sales tax revenue, she said.
Here’s a question and answer guide to navigating city offices while City Hall is being renovated:
Q: Where can I find the temporary offices?
A: The mayor’s office and the finance and marketing departments will move to the new police department headquarters at 720 W. Main St. in earlier July. Initially, these departments were going to move on June 27 but Eckert said the moving date has been pushed back because more work still needed to be done on the temporary offices at the new police station.
The city clerk and treasurer’s department will move to 512 W. Main St. in an office next to the parks department office on Monday while the economic development, planning and zoning department already has moved to the public services building at 407 E. Lincoln St.
Phone numbers, mailing addresses and emails for city officials will not change during the temporary relocation.
Q: Where will the City Council meet?
A: Beginning in July, the aldermen will meet at Lindenwood Unversity-Belleville in the banquet hall of the Alan J. Dixon Building at 2600 W. Main St. The council usually meets on the first and third Mondays of each month but because the Fourth of July holiday falls on a Monday, the first meeting in July will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 5. Lindenwood is not charging the city for use of the banquet hall.
Committee meetings usually in City Hall will be convened in various places throughout the city and those locations can be found on the city’s website at Belleville.net.
Q: Where can I pay my sewer and trash bill in person?
A: Monday will be the last day you can pay bills in person at the treasurer’s office in City Hall. Beginning on Tuesday, if you want to pay your monthly bill in person, you must go to the treasurer’s temporary office at 512 W. Main St., which is in the same building that houses the city’s parks department.
Treasurer Dean Hardt suggests residents enter the parking lot off South Sixth Street, across the from red shoe statue.
About 1,500 people pay their bills in person each month at the treasurer’s office.
Q: Will the mailing address change?
A: No. Continue mailing bill payments to P.O. Box 388, Belleville, IL 62222-0388.
Q: What if I want to pay my bill after business hours?
A: The overnight drop box at the Washington Street entrance to City Hall will be moved to the 512 W. Main St. entrance during the renovation.
Q: Where else can I pay my bill after hours?
A: You can still use the city of Belleville drop box on South First Street between West Washington and West Lincoln streets. This will remain in place during the City Hall renovation. However, payments placed here are not credited until the following business day. Hardt said about 400 residents use the drop boxes each month to pay their sewer and trash bills.
Q: Does Belleville offer direct debit for trash and sewer bills?
A: Yes. Go to Belleville.net/payments to download the authorization form to have your bill paid directly from your bank account. Residents can bring this completed form to the treasurer’s office or mail it. Hardt said about 1,400 residents use the direct debit option. You also can go Belleville.net/payments to pay your bill online for a fee and register to receive email notifications of when your bill is created. Hardt said over 4,500 customers receive email notifications about their bills.
Q: Questions about your sewer bill?
A: Call 618-233-6810 and ask for the sewer and trash billing department.