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Cape’s old city hall may undergo renovation

By Staff | Nov 8, 2010

City council will decide next week on whether they should endorse renovating the former public safety building, also former home to Cape Coral city hall.
The price tag — at just under $2 million — would retro fit the building to make it the home for the city’s Public Works Department, according to Project Director Mark Ridenour.
Ridenour said the majority of the project’s cost would go toward fixing the air conditioning, and roof, which are in various states of disrepair.
He added that the move would not only consolidate the Public Works staff into one location, but also eliminate any outside leases the city is paying for — such as the billing department location on Pine Island Road — and improve the building so it will be sufficient for another 20 years.
Ridenour said the building, while plagued with a few issues, is safe to work in.
“It’s not a sick building, there was no mold or mildew detected (during testing),” Ridenour said.
Currently, the building houses 25 employees from several different departments but is being served with a only single air condition unit, according to Ridenour.
It has been virtually empty since the city’s police department moved its operations to the new multi-million dollar building across the street last year.
Since then, there’s been debate as to what should be done with the old Public Safety building.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said the renovations are long overdue. He expects council to support the renovations next Monday.
“It would put all of our Public Works services in one area,” McGrail said, adding. “It’s the most cost effective way to utilize the old city hall and put all of our services in the City Centrum area.”
Councilmember Erick Kuehn said he was asked to come to the public service building to sit in on a hiring meeting for new employees during his first few weeks after being appointed to the seat.
He said he was “shocked” by the building’s state of disrepair, and hopes the city will improve its upkeep if and when the renovations are completed.
“I think it’s a good idea, I wish it had come up long before (the public safety building),” Kuehn said. “Once we redo this building … are we going to keep after it, making sure everything is OK, like I do with my house? I would hope it would be done differently.”
Ridenour said it would cost roughly half a million dollars to demolish the building.